The Conservatives have attacked Pada’s decision to sign the Nest administration contract before the general election, insisting that the Tories would not be governed by any contract signed by a Government in its “dying days”.
The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority announced this week that Tata Consultancy Services was the successful bidder for the National Employment Savings Trust scheme administration services and that it intends to sign a contract with the company later this month before the expected general election in May.
Pada revealed last December that Great-West Retirement Services had withdrawn from the administrator bidding process, leaving only Tata in the running for the role.
Speaking to Money Marketing, Conservative Shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson says he is “amazed” that the contract will be signed so quickly and stressed that this would not inhibit a Tory review of the scheme if they get into power.
He says: “We are amazed that when the implementation date seems to be getting further away, this contract is being signed in such a hurry. The original timetable was for this to happen in late June.
“But we wish to make it clear that our review of Nest, should we win the election, will not be constrained in any way by any contract signed by this Government in its dying days.”
Standard Life head of pensions policy John Lawson says: “The speed at which the contract will be signed does sniff of political interference but if there is only one bidder and that bidder is acceptable, you may as well get on with it.”
The contract is divided into two stages and runs for 10 years. The first stage will run to October 2010, allowing TCS to begin the activity required to set up and administer Nest.
Before the first stage expires, a decision will be made on whether to proceed with the contract for the remainder of the contract term.