HMRC kick-starts project to create £180m digital one-stop-shop for UK traders

Written by Sam Trendall on 17 May 2022 in News

Digital supplier sought to support work over the coming year

Credit: Gino Crescoli/Pixabay

HM Revenue and Customs is pressing on with a £180m project to deliver a unified digital platform through which traders will be able to manage all their interactions with government and access all relevant information on imports and exports.

The Single Trade Window (STW), which forms part of government’s 2025 UK Border Strategy, is intended to provide traders with a single digital platform through which they can submit information once only, with data then shared, as required, between all relevant teams and agencies.

The spending review provided HMRC with £180m to deliver the project over the next three years, of which £30m is allotted for the 2022/23 year.

A newly published procurement notice reveals that, to support this work, the tax agency is seeking a specialist supplier to assist the project in three key areas: “service design; data analysis, modelling and strategy; [and] technical architecture”.

The first component of the STW platform – on online service providing guidance for importers – went live nine months ago. An equivalent service for exporters is scheduled to launch sometime in 2022, according to the contract notice.

Next year will include the delivery of “a first phase for data submission, bringing together Safety and Security and import declarations…  whilst doing further work to iterate the service design, develop and agree the cross-government target architecture and evolve the five-year roadmap”.

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HMRC hopes to sign a contract with its chosen “strategic [and] technical partner” by about late June. The firm will be appointed to an initial six-month deal, with two optional extensions beyond this of three months each.

The provider will be expected to respond rapidly to the demands of individual “work packages” set out by HMRC over the coming months. This will likely involve the provision of personnel in six key roles specified in the tender: service designers; technical solutions architects; business analysts; and data engineers, architects, and analysts.

A precise budget for the potential year-long engagement was not specified but, in answering questions from suppliers submitted via government’s online Digital Marketplace, HMRC indicated that “a significant proportion of the programme’s spend over the next six months will flow through this proposed contract”.

“[The] Single Trade Window programme will provide traders and their representatives with a single place where they can supply all mandatory information required into government and a single place where they can receive messages relating to the trade. The programme aims to improve traders’ experience with the border through simplification, reliability and consistency implementing a ‘tell-us-once approach to data and incorporating supply chain data direct into government,” the contract notice said.

“Over the past 18 months, [the] Single Trade Window programme has been laying the foundations… to move into delivery: developing a high-level vision, component architecture, service design, programme structure and business case to secure funding.”

Bids for the contract are open until midnight on 25 May, after which the department expects to evaluate up to 10 potential suppliers.

Once the deal has been awarded, representatives of the winning bidder will join a team including “STW programme staff and existing suppliers supporting the live guidance service and other services in private beta”.

According to the department, incumbent suppliers include “CapGemini, Deloitte, Engine, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, plus suppliers supporting HMRC digital delivery”.


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on

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