23 Nov 2022

IRD allocates more work to US partner that led IT upgrade

4:42 pm on 23 November 2022
Businessman reading contract before making a deal.

File pic Photo: 123RF

Inland Revenue has awarded almost $130 million of contracts to a US software supplier.

Inland Revenue's annual review to Parliament showed it has signed four contracts worth $129.6m with Fast Enterprises based in Colorado.

Fast previously led the implementation of IRD's $1.5 billion technology transformation completed last year.

Three other contractors have scored new IRD business worth over $10m each - SAS Institute, One Featherston and Assurity Consulting.

This reflected how the new contracts were for keeping the new systems running long term, IRD said.

However, its overall spend on contractors and consultants for 2021-22 has halved, post-transformation, to $96m.

Almost $2.5m of that was spent on public relations, less than previous years. It was also employing fewer communications staff.

IRD has gone against the grain, as core public spending on contractors and consultants leapt $300m, or a third, in 2021-22 compared with the year before, driven by pandemic spending, reforms to health, water and environment systems, and one-off IT projects.

Inland Revenue expected an increase in permanent staff this year followed by a decrease, the annual review said.

It put a brake on permanent hires in 2016, preferring fixed-term and contract work while it overhauled its systems, but revised its workforce principles last year as it returned to more business-as-usual, "with a preference for a permanent recruitment when the work and funding are enduring".

It spent $25m on 212 redundancies in the last year, most of them in its customer and compliance services team.

IRD had outsourced some non-core work including system testing, and got agreement from the Public Service Commission to categorise this spending in future as "outsourced services" rather than as under "contractors and consultants", the review said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs