The Home Office has handed Indian outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services a substantial contract to modernise a number of Criminal Records Bureau services, which have been provided by Capita for the past ten years.

Tata was tipped several months ago to be the frontrunner for the deal by the unions, but it has now been confirmed by an online award notice issued by the Home Office.

The deal has come in at over £100 million less than what was originally estimated by the government department. Tata has agreed to provide the services for £143 million, when the original tender notice indicated an estimated value of £250 million.

It is a five year contract starting in 2013.

An online award notice says: "The contract provides new and replacement services for Business Process Outsourcing and Application Services for the running of disclosure and barring services."

The current disclosure services enable organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, particularly work that involves children or vulnerable adults.

The barring service assists in preventing unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults in regulated activity.

Tata will be responsible for the processing of referrals for a barring decision, applications for a disclosure, workflow management, first line customer and registration services and issuing of certificates which includes customer services and call centre activities.

This will involve maintenance and development services for the application services element of the service, which includes a case management system and workflow system to support the activities of disclosure and barring.

When the union PCS heard of the Home Office's intention to award the contract to Tata several months ago, it issued a statement saying that it would be having an urgent meeting with the company to ensure that it got "written guarantees in respect of jobs, the location of those jobs and a guarantee that they will remain in Liverpool, pay and terms and conditions."

Computerworld UK contacted PCS to establish the outcome of this meeting, but had not received a response at time of publication.

In other news, Capita seems to have had better luck with a £320 million IT and business process outsourcing deal at London Borough of Barnet, where it has beat off competition from BT to become the preferred bidder.