HMRC is seeking a £20m private sector partner to provide "strategic-level experience" to manage its exit from the £10.4bn Aspire mega IT deal currently underpinning Blighty's entire tax system.
The tender issued this week said the partner will "help manage the exit from a large-scale outsourced arrangement that has been in place for 20 plus years".
The department has committed to breaking up the unwieldy deal, as part of its promise to disaggregate large IT contracts.
However, in January MPs warned Aspire – "the largest technology contract in government" – could be too risky to change as the department has failed to plan for a new contract model.
The Aspire contract underpins the collection of £500bn tax income for the government. It has also generated £1.2bn in revenue for Fujitsu and Capgemini.
It currently sucks up 84 per cent of HMRC's entire ICT budget.
The tender for a private sector partner is to last until 2017, the year that Aspire is due to end.
Anthony Miller, analyst at TechMarketView, said: "It is a very ambitious aim to bring systems of that size in-house.
"HMRC at least recognises the size of the problem and that planning for something of that scale is perhaps beyond its staff's paygrades."
The tender said the successful partner must have experience of managing large post-merger workforce integrations, and the significant people and cultural issues that arise.
"HMRC will require the supplier to provide strategic input to the planning of this activity and for support for senior line managers in delivering it," the tender said. ®