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ATO, TPB look to new suppliers to future-proof IT systems

Jotham Lian
12 December 2019 — 2 minute read

The ATO and the Tax Practitioners Board are currently undergoing a procurement process to modernise their IT systems in the wake of the disastrous ATO system outages in 2016 and 2017.

As part of its Improving ATO IT Systems (IAIS) Program, the ATO has issued a request for tender to find one or more replacement suppliers to replace its current managed network services contract.

The ATO’s managed network services cover a wide range, including the end-to-end management, monitoring, operation and improvement of all ATO networks, communication services, and the operation of the ATO’s contact centre technology services which supports interactions with taxpayers, other government agencies and internally.

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The current contract is due to expire on 30 June 2020 and the ATO is hoping that the change will give it an opportunity to keep up with technological trends and deliver a “reliable and contemporary client experience”.

According to tender documents, the search to replace its managed network services supplier comes after the ATO system outages in late 2016 and early 2017 that left tax professionals without service access for lengthy periods, with the House Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue referring to the year as an “annus horribilis”.

“A number of ATO stakeholders experienced system unreliability between December 2016 and February 2017 that prompted EST [Enterprise Solutions and Technology] to establish the Improving ATO IT Systems (IAIS) Program,” said the tender documents.

“The goal of the IAIS program is to address key priorities in the ATO’s technology and business strategies.

“These outages brought into focus the critical reliance the taxation community places on ATO digital services, business service continuity and demand from government on new revenue streams.”

The contract will have an initial contract period of three years, with three options for the ATO to extend, each for up to two years in duration. The total contract period will not exceed nine years.

TPB change program

The TPB has also announced a procurement process to replace its ageing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool and modernise its IT systems.

“We are seeking a vendor to partner with us to develop and implement a solution that will integrate the evolving business of the TPB,” said Craig Woodburn, chief technology officer of the TPB.

“This includes not only replacing our CRM, but also enhancing our register of tax practitioners, legal practice management systems, compliance analytics, reporting and workflow systems.”

According to Mr Woodburn, the new system will see the development of a streamlined renewal process for tax practitioners, including a “tap the app” solution that will require minimal input by practitioners who have maintained their obligations and have had minimal changes to their circumstances.

“Apart from significantly simplifying and automating our business processes, we expect this solution will make registration and renewals for tax practitioners far more streamlined, and also provide consumers of tax practitioner services better tools to ensure their agent is registered,” Mr Woodburn said. 

The TPB plans to engage an IT vendor by mid-January 2020, with new systems being rolled out progressively over the next three years.

ATO, TPB look to new suppliers to future-proof IT systems
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