If you're going to go "digital by default" you really do need to show that you've been running the service well for some time and preferably through a few software enhancements. Is it too difficult to realise that if you're providing an important service you can't just dump an unproven load on a server and say "right, everyone use that."?
The UK government's new website intended to provide financial support for parents has been slammed for experiencing ongoing "technical" problems and outages, leaving parents unable to apply for tax-free support. Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan has called for answers from HMRC over the performance of the HMRC-run …
Friday 4th August 2017 16:48 GMT Will Godfrey
Friday 4th August 2017 18:03 GMT Refugee from Windows
Friday 4th August 2017 18:53 GMT Phil O'Sophical
Friday 4th August 2017 21:11 GMT Commswonk
Saturday 5th August 2017 19:00 GMT Anonymous Coward
It is, in fact, in the article.
"the performance of the HMRC-run Childcare Service website."
Tax-free childcare is one of the first major projects to be delivered by Revenue & Customs Digital Technology Services ltd, the "arms length" private body owned by HMRC that, in theory, delivers the projects they've taken back from the Aspire contract (Capgemini, Fujitsu, Accenture et al).
In practice it's stuffed full to the gills of junior ex-Capgemini staff and a smattering of contractors padding out the senior roles and has a serious lack of delivery experience as an organisation. It's a legal fiction designed to allow HMRC to pay technology staff technology wages without the public sector pensions exposure. In practice the pay offers they made to existing staff were derisory, with most choosing to jump ship or transfer rather than be TUPEd.
Shortly after the treasury added insult to injury by ensuring those staff who had taken the offer were then effectively redesignated civil servants and put under the 1% pay cap.
Put simply, none of the good people work there. And, because it's still really HMRC there's no mechanism to say No or push back on stupid requirements or designs, nor any mechanism to levy financial penalties in case of failure.
Daft idea all round, frankly.
Friday 4th August 2017 16:58 GMT Rich 11
Cost overruns don't pay for themselves, you know
She said:“It is concerning that some parents have struggled to apply for childcare funding due to technical issues with the government’s Childcare Service website.
“To make matters worse, it appears that the Childcare Service helpline, for parents suffering problems with the website, is also experiencing technical difficulties."
I expect that's the plan.
Friday 4th August 2017 18:11 GMT deathchurch
Friday 4th August 2017 18:35 GMT Anonymous Coward
You're right. But people aren't machines and we pay our taxes for this rubbish system.
Whatever the policy is and whoever it affects there is no excuse for wasting my money (tax) on this. But no doubt it was designed and built by people who do everything they can to avoid tax and national insurance through IR35 and other scams. Maybe you're one of these.
Friday 4th August 2017 22:20 GMT Doctor Syntax
"But no doubt it was designed and built by people who do everything they can to avoid tax and national insurance through IR35 and other scams."
Do I detect someone who doesn't have the confidence in their ability to succeed as a freelance themselves but still wants to criticise those who do whilst drawing a nice reliable salary?
Well, don't worry if that's you, the freelancers will look after you.
You see, your employers have a problem. They have busy spells with lots of requirements and periods when they don't and they can't afford to staff for peak demand with permies and then pay them for nothing when work is slack. They have to match such fluctuations with those due to permies leaving, going off sick, going on holiday and taking parental leave. They may also require specialist skills at short notice that their permies don't have.
Fortunately they have the fall-back of freelancers who are prepared to operate as a business to take the risks of short term engagements and get taxed as a business and so smooth everything out. The freelancers keep your employers in the game so that they can afford to keep employing those permies who just want a risk free life and yet don't see why anyone taking the risks should be treated differently. The alternative, of course, is that your employers could just get shut of you and outsource their entire IT to the lowest bidder.
In the context of the current topic HMRC's problem might well be that their attitude has lost them the freelancers they were relying on to build the system. It's another case of having their cake (not carrying the costs and risks of having enough IT employees and relying on freelancers instead) whilst trying to eat it (attempting to tax the freelancers as if they were the employees they don't want to pay).
Saturday 5th August 2017 10:24 GMT Anonymous Coward
I am a freelancer that believes we must all pay taxes and national insurance in equal share. It costs me more but I have a clear conscience.
If freelancers are so independent why do so many complain when business rules start to apply? If you want to play with the big boys you must play by their rules and take the rough with the smooth.
The government is a business, if you don't like their policies work somewhere else. The government has overpaid for poor quality from freelancers for years as demonstrated by this mess.
What's your point?
Saturday 5th August 2017 14:23 GMT Doctor Syntax
"I am a freelancer that believes we must all pay taxes and national insurance in equal share. It costs me more but I have a clear conscience.
If freelancers are so independent why do so many complain when business rules start to apply?"
So was I before I retired (pace blitheringeejit). If you were replying to me (your not quoting anything makes it difficult to work out who you were replying to - threading hereabouts isn't that clear) all I can say was that I was replying to the previous A/C who seems to think that applying business rahter than employment rules to businesses is a scam.
Indeed, re-reading that OP the poster seemed to think that IR35 was a scam perpetrated by freelancers. Very odd.
Sunday 6th August 2017 13:44 GMT d3vy
Monday 7th August 2017 19:27 GMT TheVogon
"who do everything they can to avoid tax and national insurance through IR35 and other scams"
The vast majority are genuine contractors who pay less tax because they carry far more risk. IR35 is a rule to stop that by the way, not a reduction method.
However yes, there are a few using it as a scam that really are disguised employees. For instance many highly paid BBC employees until recently....
Saturday 5th August 2017 03:06 GMT Allan George Dyer
@deathchurch - So you're not planning to retire, ever? Sure, your pension looks adequate now, but with fewer working-age people around, prices for nursing care, transportation, food... hell, everything that requires people, is going to skyrocket. If you want a stable society that continues for your lifetime, you'd better put some investment in the basic infrastructure to support it: young people.
Sunday 6th August 2017 13:41 GMT d3vy
Monday 7th August 2017 09:50 GMT Tom Paine
Many other, arguably more humane, suggestions for disposing of unwanted biological litter were trialled, tested and proven by the forward looking Scarfolk Council back in the 70s.
^ great time sink for anyone old enough to remember municipal design aesthetics of the 70s...
Monday 7th August 2017 09:35 GMT Tom Paine
The problem isn't the kids
...kids come free. It's clothing, feeding, and bringing them up that costs the money. As someone who grew up in the 70s and 80s I thank my lucky stars I've avoided breeding, more by luck than judgement; the costs are way, way higher than I would have assumed. For instance, my GF has to pay over £300 PER TERM for the school bus, which was free in my day. And the volume of trips, clubs, deliberately over-priced monopoly uniform suppliers, etc , means the costs are far higher than I, for one, would have anticipated, say, 15-20 years ago.
Also bear in mind that the costs are a very moveable feast. Aforesaid GF is stuck living near her elderly parents who refuse to move though one has pretty advanced dementia and the others's getting increasingly wobbly. Unfortunately, back in the mid 60s they had picked a place to live that's now a wretched hive of scum and villainy - bankers, traders, brokers, property developers, all sorts of Range Rover-driving riff-raff. Consequently even though the kids are at state schools. many of their peers have tremendous financial privileges, and it's pretty crap for them to always be the kids who are pitied or excluded for not having a fancy phone, Netflix, TVs in their bedrooms and all the rest. These are not things I would ever have anticipated finding myself paying for, 20 years ago. (And they're not even my kids!)
Anyway my point is that how much it takes to "afford" kids is as long as a piece of string.
Icon because although I didn't reproduce, that hasn't helped me avoid catching a bad case of children.
Monday 7th August 2017 11:53 GMT RedCardinal
And what happens if you could afford them when they were born (nice job etc) and subsequently lost your job or became ill and couldn't work any more? Or if you're in a low paid job? Are you suggesting that only rich people can have children?
So no it really isn't that simple except for dicks like you...
Friday 4th August 2017 18:30 GMT Anonymous Coward
It's still in Beta
I assume this means they're using Agile methods. . It's a pity they are playing with people's lives and livelihoods.
No wonder those dependent on the state are educationally behind their peers. See BBC for details. The parents won't have enough cash to feed the kids if this continues. Who said IT doesn't matter.
Friday 4th August 2017 21:43 GMT Haku
The future will be a paperless office they said.
But you don't need electricity or any knowledge of computers to use a pen & paper.
Upgrading your pen won't render your paper useless.
Your pen & paper can't get infected by ransomware.
Downsides? Reading people''s handwriting and other numerous things you can only do with digitial information (ease of copy/backup/instant distribution to other people etc.)