HM Revenue and Customs' estate private finance deal eight years on - Public Accounts Committee Contents

3  Working in partnership

14.  To achieve best value on these types of deals takes partnership and a real understanding of each other's business. The Committee concluded in 2005 that, although there had been moves on both sides to work in partnership, it had not yet been fully achieved. In the first years of the contract, the offshore ownership put a strain on the relationship.[18]

15.  Since then the Department and Mapeley had been improving the relationship but they had still not formed a fully effective partnership. The Department recognised that a true partnership involved sharing information about business strategy, transparency and engagement at Board level. The Department and Mapeley were working together to achieve greater transparency, and had recently set up a new Board consisting of members from both organisations, which will meet twice a year.[19]

16.  The Department's vacation plans had offered an opportunity for greater dialogue, and the Department included Mapeley in its consultation for building closures, but only provided fuller details towards the end of 2008. In approaching the Department in January 2009, Mapeley wanted to obtain as much clarity as it could on the Department's plans, in terms of the buildings and timings involved.[20]

17.  The two organisations did not share key information in a consistent manner, such as having a shared database of property information, a joint understanding of vacation allowances use, or a shared risk register. The Department and Mapeley were currently negotiating settlement of a £12 million claim Mapeley lodged in 2009 for services that date back to 2002. The reason for the delay in invoicing was that the Department and Mapeley did not have an agreed methodology for pricing the services. They were now working to resolve the matter as part of wider negotiations on a range of issues. The Department was also improving its processes to obtain better visibility on issues such as these.[21]

18   Qq 17 and 60; HC (2004-05) 553, para 17; C&AG's Report, para 3.13 Back

19   Qq 4, 54 and 55; C&AG's Report, para 3.12 Back

20   Qq 11 and 54; C&AG's Report, para 2.19 Back

21   Qq 25-27 and 30; C&AG's Report, paras 1.5 and 3.14 Back

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