The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is seeking labour hire personnel to fill positions in areas such as IT, digital, and data management, moving this week to establish another employment outsourcing panel.

In a request for tender (RFT), the ATO explains it already has two contingent labour hire panel arrangements in place: One for the provision of labour hire services that ends in November, and another for the provision of IT contractor services, that the ATO will be exercising its one-year extension option as of this month.

“The ATO intends to create a new panel arrangement that combines the function of these two panels to holistically manage the ATO’s future contingent labour needs,” the RFT says. “The new combined panel will allow for streamlined processes and improved supplier relationships.”

Specifically, the new service provider panel will be required to be comprised of suppliers providing labour hire personnel to the ATO across three categories: Customer service, corporate management, and administration; tax, accounting, law, and finance; and IT, digital, and data management.

Where category three is concerned, the ATO wants candidates with “various levels of skills and experience” in areas such as data analysis, data miner, database and data, programming, helpdesk/support, project management, cybersecurity, service management, systems administration, systems analysis and design, and systems integration and deployment.

The ATO revealed during Senate Estimates in March it coughed up a “peak” of AU$333 million during 2016-17 on labour hire , outsourcing, and specialist contractors, with many charged with rectifying the work backlog caused by IT outages.

The 2016-17 financial year was a tumultuous one for the Taxation Office where IT infrastructure was concerned, having suffered a handful of outages during the period from “one-of-a-kind” SAN outages to mainframe reboots.

According to ATO chief operating officer Jacqui Curtis, the 2015-16 employment outsourcing total was AU$188.6 million, and then increased, at its peak, to AU$333 million during 2016-17 across three areas of employment: Labour hire, outsourcing, and specialist contractors.

“We are anticipating this will come down again this financial year — there will be a slight reduction — and at present, we’re currently sitting on AU$116.3 million,” Curtis explained in March.

“The outages caused a lot of work to be done manually during that period — we put on additional resources to that to catch up — we increased our contractors in that period because we needed specialist contractors to come in, in order to make sure we had a smooth tax time.”

Curtis, however, said the ATO is expecting that to “trend down” this year across the employment categories, taking on-notice the specific breakdown of spend, but revealing she expects the figure to peak at AU$280 million for 2017-18.

The ATO is seeking to have the new panel in place for an initial term of three years, with three one-year extension options, commencing on November 1, 2018.

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