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HMRC officially now on GOV.UK

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16th Dec 2014
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As of today HMRC's website has officially migrated to GOV.UK.

Digital director at the Cabinet Office Mike Bracken took to Twitter today to congratulate HMRC and the GDS team for the migration.

Now with better team pic! HMRC is on! http://t.co/DlDK2aTgHk Well done @HMRCgovuk @gdsteam @tillwirth @markdearnley pic.twitter.com/sENuVRR3eW

— Mike Bracken (@MTBracken) December 16, 2014

However, a Revenue spokesperson confirmed that not all content has yet migrated to the new site - but it will be across by the end of 2014. 

"By the end of this year, all main HMRC customer-facing guidance will be accessed through the GOV.UK website. HMRC's technical manuals will still be available and will move to GOV.UK next year."

Last month, the Revenue fended off criticism from accountants about the new portal, by saying it wasn't fully ready to meet the needs of its specialist users and wasn't fully complete.

Addressing concerns about the material available, HMRC confirmed that its operational manuals would move to the new portal, with links back to the old HMRC versions.

The website transition has regularly come under fire from AccountingWEB members over the content quality, accessibility, navigation and many other issues.

But with the the more specialised content such as tax tables and tax agent pages migrating in the space of a month, more questions will be raised about the vital fact-checking that will need to be carried out.

"Following transition, we’ll look for ways we can improve the agent proposition through feedback, data and by working with you over the coming months," the GDS blogged recently.

It asked for feedback via the contact area of the site for comments about any of the content.

Some members of the profession also took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction of the migration. 

@jwgn @AccountingWEBuk Tax tables for thresholds, rates etc. are poor. And other agencies like Land Registry going over too. Aaaaaargh!

— Shot Fox (@Shot_fox) December 16, 2014

​The big march of content to Gov.uk this month also included Companies House, which made the move on 10 December.

Ever since the Cabinet Office took command of the government's digital publishing infrastructure the reasons for the move have been clear - taxpayers were funding a massive labyrinth of disparate, disconnected sites. The financial savings could amount to as much as £100m a year from the migration (which was originally budgeted to cost £18.9m to set up).

No one likes change, but sometimes it's inevitable. While Gov.uk has been picking up design awards, the best way to ensure a project like this succeeds to is to do copious amounts of user testing. According to feedback from AccountingWEB.co.uk members, that aspect of the design work seems to have been in short supply on the elements of Gov.uk that most affect accountants.

Nichola Ross Martin  commented: "Testing was done, a whole lot of 'plebs' were scooped up from the streets and asked if they could work out how to navigate the site and they looked at it and thought that it was good. No idea if any of them actually ran a business or do any tax. I tested some stuff and I said it was horrible but no one listened. That was some time ago. The new Companies House site is awful too."

What do you think of the new portal?

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Replies (20)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Dec 2014 11:20

The companies house website now takes several more clicks to get to anything useful.  

Gone was a really quite decent layout and design replaced with a mish-mash of links, most of which seem to (eventually) redirect back into the old site.

Big backward step.

 

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By jeremy28
17th Dec 2014 11:33

Who funded...

Who funded the cake in the picture?!!!

Was it necessary for icing and nuts?

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By petwencal
17th Dec 2014 11:54

Why?

It worked fine (?) as it was, just as Companies House website did.

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By KH
17th Dec 2014 11:55

xxx it's awful

How I hate change for change's sake ... now it takes me ten times longer to find anything. Bah!

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By Charlie Carne
17th Dec 2014 12:03

Over-simplification on new web site

I agree with Nichola Ross Martin. And, as was commented on at https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/question/govuk-can-we-have-hmrcgovuk-back, it's worth tweeting them to let them know in a public forum (as well as in this firewalled forum). Feel free to follow, favourite or re-tweet my tweets at https://twitter.com/charliecarne/status/545182606858678272 and https://twitter.com/charliecarne/status/545186153717334016.

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By CJaneH
17th Dec 2014 12:05

 I wanted to down load a

 I wanted to down load a paper form from HMRC to be told I need to update my version of Explorer.

Any one else had this problem?

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By Quixote
17th Dec 2014 16:30

The real question

The most important thing to consider when full navigation has been completed is whether they will leave everything as it is then, or occasionally move the links around in the dubious interests of 'improvement,' as happens some years with SA return boxes - rather like the irritating habit of supermarkets of moving items of stock to different locations thus causing customers to have to spend inordinate amounts of time searching for what they want.

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By mrme89
17th Dec 2014 23:44

The most frustrating bit...

When quickly researching to quickly confirm something ... yep found the vat/tax notice ... ah I have to click again from this initial useless page just to view it. Even then, it is in stupidly enlarged font. 

 

Everything seems so unnecessary. 

 

 

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By North East Accountant
18th Dec 2014 09:13

Change for changes sake

What a complete waste of time and money. Classic government changing the name of things to keep people in non jobs.

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By Charlie Carne
18th Dec 2014 11:35

It's not about the name of the web site

They haven't done this just to change the name of the web site. And who cares what the name of the site is, anyway? The principle behind the change is laudable. Unfortunately, the implementation has not been entirely thought through. It's great for the "customer" (i.e. tax payer/citizen/etc) who uses the site, as they have a one-stop resource with a standard layout across all departments. but it's too dumbed down for the professional user. It would surely not be too difficult to ensure that every page that was on the old HMRC and Companies House sites was relocated on the new site (alongside the new, simplified pages for Joe Public). There should even have been a period of overlap, where the old links re-direct to the new pages. In that way, we could check all of our browser bookmarks and edit them to point to the new URLs before the old links were removed.

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Time for change
By Time for change
18th Dec 2014 11:44

Pity, they couldn't "dress" for the occasion?

Some of the outfits I can see, I wouldn't wash the car in?

Everywhere- slipshod standards. It's a public body and, how you appear, shows whether you have pride. Or, is it just a job?

Or, is it dress down Friday, everyday, in HMRC?

 

 

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By markabacus
18th Dec 2014 12:37

Are 'upgrades' ever a real improvement?

I can't say I find 'upgraded' websites ever much of improvement, usually more a source of irritation, frustration and time wasting as they move stuff around and rarely bring anything useful to the table.

As for giving them feedback, just another time wasting exercise be it HMRC searches that usually bring up out of date legislation before the current one, HSBC whose bank statement downloads have 2 different formats [current & archive] since an upgrade some 5+ yrs ago etc

But hey, it keeps some people in a job designing and programming the next needless update!

 

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By possep
18th Dec 2014 12:46

You can have your cake and eat it

What a shambles. The website is awful and if that's the current standard set at HMRC no wonder the country is in such a mess. There was a dress code and an exam to pass when I was at the Inland Revenue.

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By Rachael White
18th Dec 2014 13:08

Time for Change

I think many digital agencies now employ a 'relaxed' dress sense. Here at Sift Media, we employ a similar one. 

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By Paul Soper
18th Dec 2014 15:21

Too much concealment...

One very useful feature of the old HMRC site was What's New - a simple record, maintained daily, of significant and not so significant HMRC changes, now it seems to be gone. There are rumours that the feature was to be discontinued but how easy now for HMRC, and indeed other departments, to make changes and - just not tell us!  Stakeholders include professionals and we seem to be the group who are being ignored in this new process, it is all very well to trial it with ordinary taxpayers, and for them it probably is an improvement but for everyone else?  A disaster...

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By trecar
18th Dec 2014 16:27

The website .gov.uk looks as though it's moving wholesale over to responsive design. This ensures that content is accessible on tablets and phones without having separate pages. This is fine for some websites but I don't think it works very well for complex sites as the content has to be limited or you end up with massively long pages that need loads of scrolling. It also helps to explain why the typeface is so large when viewed on a large screen. I find it a puzzle why HMG should think anyone would want to access technical stuff on a phone. If I'm sitting in a pub and someone asks me a question that needs a techie answer I tell them to contact me when I am in the office because I most certainly wouldn't dream of trying to access legislation etc on my phone. Just where is it all going to end up? Back to pen and paper no doubt. What's that saying? 'What goes around, comes around.'

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By moneymanager
20th Dec 2014 08:34

Big screen?

Well, I'm looking at it on a 12" tablet and nowadays that does not count as large for a heavily used computer.

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By stratty
18th Dec 2014 16:48

Two Sites

Should have gone with two sites imo.  Old style retained for technical and a dumbed down version for the layman.

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By carnmores
18th Dec 2014 19:55

well hopefully it will settle down

or the computers going out the window again , resetting all my book marks which is the answer for quick access

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By andrewdiver
19th Dec 2014 10:09

It is horrible.   Accessing

It is horrible.   Accessing various aspects of HMRC site were much clearer before the transfer. From what I can see they just want to make the front page look more attractive with photo's for news updates rather than functional.   

I can understand the desire to have all government sites using a similar format and functionality.  It will provide familiarity when someone tries a different section of the government sites, but I don't think this migration has been handled well.   And for pure use of the site you would have thought for the sake of a month and a half they might have practically look to implement the changes after 31 January 2015 to minimal disruption to the 2014 tax return submissions.

 

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