back to article HMRC cuts IT spending in half in 2 years

HMRC has reduced its spending on IT from £1.4bn to £700m in two years, according to Phil Pavitt, the organisation's chief information officer (CIO) and director of change. Pavitt told the public sector efficiency expo in London that HMRC that the cuts had not come at the expense of quality of service. "This year it was just …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

They could have funded it 10 times over with the money they gave away

to Vodaphone.

3
1
Thumb Up

Re: They could have funded it 10 times over with the money they gave away

But still small change to the amounts believed lost to carousel fraud.

If you are interested in the Vodafiddle tax deal, this week's Private Eye has a whole page excludive on it.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: They could have funded it 10 times over with the money they gave away

Off topic, but a startling write up this week in Private Eye about the Vodaphone's tax avoidance infrastructure. According to the article, there is an empty office in Switzerland that Voda rents for like £300 a month, nobody there just a phone line and one accountant in the office above. The office is manned about 1 day in 20 for meetings. But this office makes 2 billion in profit annually. Now that's magic !

Still, if we got that 6 bn we would just have to spend it on boring stuff like keeping pensioners warm, educating kids and defending the Falklands.

5
0
Silver badge
Big Brother

Just print it up, why dontcha.

"if we got that 6 bn"

Who is that "we", why can he seize money from all over the place and why is he so altruistic????

That must be some swell guy·

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Hard Negotiators

They probably pointed out to the "winning" bidder that they could be investigated more thoroughly if they didn't meet the right price.

3
0
Pint

Huzzah for HMRC

A govmt department that is treating itself like a cost centre - how refreshing. Hand them a beer or two. HMRC actually seems to be one of the few places that try and help you do what you want - hopefully an MP won't notice and try and change it to grab some glory for themselves.

3
0

And yet..

They seem incapable of correctly typing teh correct three numbers & a letter into the tax code field of your PAYE

0
0
Windows

Re: And yet..

"correctly typing teh"...

Joke, surely?

3
0

Re: And yet..

I hope you're being ironic. LOL.

0
0

Re: And yet..

Irony? Me? Nver.

2
0
Facepalm

This I have to see

So they are going to go from call centres where "IT is not available for 120 to 150 minutes a week" to "call centres whose IT is a 100% month after month" with no cap ex spending?

He is truley a genuis. After all, govenment IT projects have such a good track record...

0
0
FAIL

So,

instead of spending £1.4bn on crappy projects which don't work, they're now only spending £700m on crappy projects which don't work.

Oh what a relief!

1
0
FAIL

Definition of Success

I will call their IT successful when they actually manage to get my tax code right once in a decade.

Yes a move to duff data costing £700m is better than duff data at £1.4Bn, but it would be better to spend £1.4Bn and get it right

1
0
Silver badge

I'm not sure quite how to feel about this

Upside : Yay! They are saving money! :)

Downside : Damn! They are going to tax what little I have much more efficiently now. :(

1
0
Anonymous Coward

And the big question...

...why didn't they do this a decade ago?

1
0
FAIL

Quality?

How can you loose something if you didn't have it in the first place?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Quality?

Once you've let it loose you certainly won't have it.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

A great impovement certainly

So why am I still waiting for my tax rebate, more than 6 weeks after submitting the form?

0
0

Re: A great impovement certainly

I got a VAT refund in my account within 3 days of filing the return in December. Not too shabby, in my book. I guess the VAT systems are a bit more efficient than personal taxes.

1
0

Waste

If they can reduce their budget by £700 million without any loss of quality then they were wasting that money in previous years and someone needs to be sacked. There is a major difference between making a saving and eliminating unnecessary and unproductive spending. If times are tough you look around for things which you can cease doing with the least pain but waste elimination should be an ongoing process at all times. Sure, in good times there may be a small amount of fat which it is more trouble to remove than it is worth, but 50% of the budget??

3
0
Happy

Re: Waste

IT is a govmt department - give them credit. Wasting £700mill is par for the course and they are being exceptional in trimming such excess.

Brings in mind that "Yes (Prime?) Minister" sketch with Sir Hump explaining that every time departments review how much they need with an aim to cutting costs they all come back with larger budgets than they currently enjoy.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Waste

Hi Len. Yes, technically a waste. In practice the problem is not consolidating the IT but getting individual fiefdoms within HMRC to agree on a common system. That is Pavitt's real achievement.

4
0
Thumb Up

the only scary thing is why this wasnt done sooner....

While I appreciate its a big job, "all" they seem to have done is recognise that a few good systems are worth more than a large set of poor systems. And that you get both pricing and support benefits.

Superficially looks like IT Strategy for beginners

Seems par for the course with what I hear about goverment IT systems however

2
0

Re: the only scary thing is why this wasnt done sooner....

I can only guess it's because previously if someone said it's going to cost £XXX Million to do, they said OK and asked for an increase in their budget which they got. Now they're being told they can't increase their budget they're presumably looking at options other than throwing money at the problem.

2
0

To honest...

...HMRC, in common with a lot of the public sector have had expensive IT projects that fail utterly. their 'quality' could be defined as zero. They bring the average down. Therefore if all large public sector IT projects were cancelled then average 'quality' would actually increase.

1
0
Bronze badge
Flame

How many customer relationship managers does it take?

Surely they only have one customer - Her Majesty's government.

Or possibly two if you count those uppity jocks.

I am not a customer - I am a tax payer, and a reluctant one at that.

2
0
Mushroom

Re: How many customer relationship managers does it take?

I agree, it really pisses me off when I get called a customer for something I have no choice in.

Besides, I don't buy anything from them, they just take my money so I don't have to go to prison (for not paying them).

It's basically a protection racket.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: How many customer relationship managers does it take?

How dare they call tax payers "customers"?

Tax is money taken with the threat of violence.

4
0
Thumb Up

Such ridiculous wastage and ill-thought out systems is unfortunately representative of the public sector as a whole. While continual attempts should be made to reduce wastage and systems bloat, it is inevitable that when there is plenty of money around, such important work is forgotten about.

HMRC should be congratulated for reducing their expenditure so quickly. I dare say there a few more Government departments who could do with the same treatment. 31 CRMs down to one is impressive, my former employer (a publicly funded college) had 4 being used at one point by half a dozen people who all sat in the same office!

Thumbs up to HMRC, now the remaining Government departments need to get their fingers out of their respective arses, perform the same analysis of their systems and see how much they can save. Let's make a game of it, the department that finds the most wastage get to keep their jobs!

3
0
Anonymous Coward

"Phil Pavitt, the organisation's chief information officer (CIO) and director of change told the public sector efficiency expo in London that HMRC that the cuts had not come at the expense of quality of service."

He's right, they are just as monumentally crap as they were before the savings.

I’ve had 6 weeks of exchanging letters with their 'demands with menaces dept' who appear to be completely out of synch with the 'we'll just guess how much you owe us and add a bit more for luck' dept and it’s still not settled yet. Guess who has to pay for all those letters ?

Perhaps they'll refund me out of their savings ?

1
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Well

"Pavitt told the public sector efficiency expo in London that HMRC that the cuts had not come at the expense of quality of service."

It certainly has not come as an improvement in service. Continuous errors, email is not answered, post is not answered (we now use recorded delivery) and the telephone system is a f*******g mess. Sack the shit.

0
0

remember..

..the stories on El Reg about (computer) admin cock ups costing HMRC £1bn a year in overpaid working family tax credits?

Or the fact they don't seem to have an adequate system for ascertaining the joint income of parents to means test child benefit?

So I'm sure halving the amount they ineptly spend is going to work brilliantly.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

We need a little more info on their IT cost history, otherwise it could be that the numbers for the previous couple of years had been inflated by major projects during that period.

OTOH maybe they've just thrown out all the systems that were used when analyzing the finances of the larger corporates.

1
0

I'll believe it when I see their working.

Do they seriously expect us to trust their sums? This is the same agency who spent most of last year issuing corrections for tax miscalculated over a five year period. Until I see evidence to the contrary, I'm inclined to believe they made an error in their favour.

1
0
Gold badge
Thumb Up

Sounds almost too good to be true

Come on.

A 50% *cut* in budget in 1 year?

As others have said either it should have been done *years* ago or it is (to put it mildly) a mis-description of the situation.

OTOH it could be said that recognizing that 31 CRM systems is about 30 too many is easy *consolidating* them, while managing the *personnel* issues *and* the IT issues of all those managers demands *exceptional* willpower and stamina. Many can observe (and I'll bet plenty have) but few *do*.

Thumbs up for the (apparent) success. But I'll want a *lot* more detail to be convinced.

0
1
Thumb Up

not just public sector

A lot of public sector bashing here. Justified, but I can think of a number of ballsed up private sector IT projects as well. They just don't get publicised. IT strategy 101 it may be, but better is still better so they deserve a little credit.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums