The federal government will pay Irish-domiciled consulting multinational Accenture nearly $60 million to develop a “permissions capability” platform which will initially serve to digitise incoming passenger declaration forms.
In mid-September the Department of Home Affairs announced that Accenture had won a lucrative contract to deliver a “permissions capability” for the Commonwealth, with the government planning to purchase an off-the-shelf digital platform that will be used for incoming passenger declaration forms, including to collect COVID-19 vaccination details.
This platform will then be repurposed and used across the Commonwealth for a range of other government services.
Accenture was awarded a standing offer notice in relation to this work, with the exact cost of this initial work not revealed at the time.
A number of contracts with Accenture in relation to the permissions capability project have now been made public, revealing the consulting giant is to be paid just under $60 million across the next three years.
This work has been split across four separate contracts, worth a total of $58.12 million.
For the off-the-shelf permissions capability base platform, the government will pay Accenture $32.8 million, with the contract running to the start of September 2024. The firm has also landed $16.4 million over the same timeframe for third party component re-sale.
A third contract, also running for the next three years, is worth $7.5 million and for the digital passenger declarations specifically.
Accenture will also be paid $1.42 million over the next six months for “permissions capability discovery and co-design”.
Other consulting giants have already been paid just under $13 million to provide advice on the initial phase of the permissions capability project, with Pragma Partners landing $6.5 million and KPMG getting $2.98 million, among others.
It comes after a previous attempt to revamp the digital visa processing platform was canned early last year after already costing nearly $90 million.
The public sector union has criticised the federal government’s decision to go to the private sector for this work, saying it is a critical piece of digital infrastructure and should be kept in-house.
“This new platform is critical digital infrastructure that should be built in-house by the public service, so it is publicly owned and controlled by Parliament,” Community and Public Sector assistant national secretary Michael Tull told InnovationAus.
“Public assets like visa gateways should never be handed over to a multinational corporation, and certainly never in a circumstance where major questions about what is being built and how much it will cost are yet to be answered.
“This is a troubling move in the wrong direction – the government must invest in in-house capacity, not outsource essential public work to multinationals who wish to have a future monopoly on government services.”
Accenture has won a number of significant government tech contracts this year. Earlier this month the firm won a $17 million Australian Taxation Office contract, and has been awarded work worth a total of more than $120 million with the tax office this year.
Accenture is also acting as the federal government’s data lead for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and has won contracts worth $20 million as part of this, along with a $11 million top up for its My Health Record enhancement work.
Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.