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Vendors, pssst: HMRC is teeing up its £4.5 billion "DALAS" framework, views welcomed

Tax office's CDIO continues efforts to move away from big SIs...

The British government is gearing up to launch a new £4.5 billion procurement framework designed to “move HMRC toward an application services support model that is less dependent upon legacy technologies.”

Dubbed “Digital and Legacy Application Services” (DALAS) the framework will provide a commercial vehicle to replace existing contractual arrangements that are due to expire between September 2023 and January 2025.

It will also include a significant training component including “rapid cross training of existing staff” across DevOps, KONG, MS Dynamics and Power Platform, Pega, SAP,  Scala, ServiceNow and beyond.

(HMRC CDIO Daljit Rehal has previously emphasised the importance of training in conversations with The Stack, noting  that "as we moved from trying to do everything with appliances where we structure the data, into embracing the world of unstructured big data with NoSQL technology, we were led to an entire change in strategy. This in turn branched out to launching a separate line of business" but adding "people say they have a talent and skills gap in their organisation, but often they don’t. What they have is a leadership gap – a failure of leadership across all levels. [As a result] in many places I’ve worked, people don’t behave as a team...")

The DALAS framework is being set up by Crown Commercial Service (CCS), working with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and “will provide the basis for letting a large proportion of HMRC future application services requirements. The two are running a hybrid launch event on 6th September 2022 at 10:30am.

New DALAS HMRC procurement framework

HMRC earlier promised to “deliver a step change in how HMRC delivers IT, works with IT suppliers to procure and utilise technology, and how we work more broadly as an organisation”, under a new Technology Sourcing Programme that aims to “address HMRC’s entire IT run and change spend of £900 million/annum.”

The new DALAS Framework is designed to help HMRC migrate its complex suite of application services to a new multi-supplier, multi-year framework in a phased approach with the aim of taking a more Agile approach, increasing the speed to market of specific work packages, and improving competition amongst suppliers.

“CCS and HMRC will engage the services of an increased number of suppliers with significant expertise in managing and developing application services as they progress to the next stage of an agile environment. This session will allow CCS and HMRC to set out to suppliers the vision to create a new multi-supplier, multi-year framework and to provide further information on high-level requirements, timelines, and routes to market.”

The public notice emphasised priorities as managing, augmenting and supporting:

  • "New or existing custom applications or BDApps
  • New or existing enterprise applications
  • Packaged software applications
  • New or existing middleware, including API platforms
  • ESCROW services where required
  • Data, database and middleware management and integration practices, techniques and tooling for achieving consistent access and smart use-case-based recovery to structured and unstructured data..."
  • Maintenance of infrastructure as code, PaaS and SaaS run and integration via technology or service stacks

Other key services available to suppliers under the DALAS Framework will include software licensing validation, web hosting including sandpit environments, along with "configurable platform and product maintenance, support, enhancement and release management services including AI and automation products; product support during contract lifecycle, product/service creation, development and transformation through configuration of pre-built process maps, work-flows, service designators [and] use-cases within configurable cloud-based strategic PaaS/SaaS products to form technology stack components with a lower cost to serve profile."

Data extraction, conversion and backup is also a priority.

See also: DWP goes to market for emergency IT payments infrastructure