The collection of the TV licence fee may be outsourced to a private company in a bid to stamp out widespread evasion that is costing RTÉ up to €40m in lost revenue each year.
An Post is currently responsible for enforcement and collection of the €160 annual fee, although it is estimated that around 16% of households with a television set do not have a licence.
The Office of Government Procurement has now sought expressions of interest from companies that can provide collection and enforcement systems with a view to potentially outsourcing the service.
The advertisement seeking expressions of interest is described as a preliminary market-sounding exercise and a request for information. It is not a formal competition or an invitation to tender.
TV licence fees have historically been collected and enforced by An Post, which receives around €12.5m each year in respect of the service.
It is likely that An Post would continue to sell TV licences under any new outsourcing arrangement, while TV licence inspections and debt-collection services would be provided by another company.
The Office of Government Procurement has published an advertisement on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in order to gauge interest from suitable companies.
“The TV licence fee collection would involve the provision of collection, payment and enforcement systems, management of database, and interaction with the relevant stakeholders,” it states.
Interested parties have until April 28 to respond to the advertisement with a formal expression of interest.
RTÉ gets around €180m from the money collected annually. A further €14m goes into a broadcasting fund for the independent sector.
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