The Department for Work and Pensions is planning a digital debt services project that will see the department use technology to manage the debts of up to 15 million UK citizens owing money to the government.
The DWP has put out a contract notice seeking a supplier to implement and maintain a debt management system for use by about 2,300 staff across a number of its offices throughout the UK. By the 2021/22 fiscal year, the platform will need to handle the department’s work to collect money from an estimated nine million debtors. This may subsequently to rise between 12 and 15 million people, the DWP said, and a total of up to 45 million individual debts.
“Any system must be scalable and must be able to integrate with a variety of channels – [such as] self-service – as more customers will interact with us online,” the DWP added.
The department’s existing debt management operation is charged each year with recovering an annual total of more than £1bn in money owed to the government.
The new platform must include accurate management of outstanding and recovered debt, and be able “to integrate with multiple IT systems” that are part of the DWP’s existing technology estate, as well as tools it may build or buy in the future.
The DWP is looking to appoint the chosen supplier to a five-year contract, with two optional one-year extensions thereafter. Interested bidders have until 14 March to submit a request to participate, and the department expects to invite up to five potential suppliers to take part in the tender process. The contract – the potential worth of which has not been specified by the department – is slated to commence on 11 September.
“[The new debt-management system will] support DWP’s vision of being a centre of excellence and strategic partner for socially responsible, sustainable recovery of collections, and money owed to the UK government,” the DWP said. “In order to achieve this vision, DWP debt-management operations are transforming the way that they work. Underpinning this will be the modernisation of their business operation and their products and services, including the current debt-management system.”