The £600-million (approximately Rs 4,100 crore) UK Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) deal, which was recently awarded to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to administer the National Employee Savings Trust (NEST) scheme for 10 years, has come under the scanner of the Conservative Party.
Nigel Waterson, the Conservative pensions spokesman, says he will review the contract if his party comes to power. The UK will have its elections in the next six months.
Waterson recently told UK-based media publication Professional Pensions that his party was "frustrated and angry" with the government after discovering that the NEST administration contract had been signed ahead of the general election. "The contract went to Indian firm Tata Consultancy Services last week, despite government promises no long-term contacts would be signed before the next administration takes office."
Other than TCS, three more firms were invited to participate in the competitive dialogue: Arbejdsmarkedet Tillaegspension (ATP) Group; Great-West Retirement Services (Europe) and Logica UK. A TCS spokesperson declined to comment on the issue.
NEST is a part of UK workplace pension reform that aims at making savings for retirement as the norm. The workplace pension reforms are due to take place in 2012. Once implemented, it will mean automatic enrollment of all eligible workers into a pension scheme that meets or exceeds legal standards.
The contract will cover services like employer participation, member enrollment, collection and reconciliation, cash management, accessing pension savings and administration of accounts.
"As we proceeded through our detailed procurement process, TCS emerged as an extremely strong bidder, both in terms of their capabilities in pension administration and in their ability to provide value for money for NEST members. Signing the contract early, in stages, allows us to get on with our work to deliver NEST," Tim Jones, PADA chief executive, had said when the contracted was awarded to TCS.
"This project will make a difference to millions of people in the UK and we are fully committed to it. Our selection as the preferred bidder demonstrates our strong domain and solution expertise and highlights our commitment to the UK public sector," N Chandrasekaran, chief executive officer and managing director of TCS, had said.