Responding to a freedom of information (FOI) request, HMRC has remained reticent on the projected savings from moving its web content to the GOV.UK portal.
An earlier FOI query established that the department expected to achieve £169,000 in savings by April 2016 and £202,000 per year thereafter, pointing to a five-year payback period on the initial outlay of around £982,000 on the project in staff costs.
But in response to AccountingWEB’s follow-up question on whether it would achieve any immediate savings, HMRC referred us to the Cabinet Office. “These figures apply only to HMRC. GOV.UK is a cross-departmental project,” HMRC explained.
The previous figures from HMRC showed costs of £942,000 were budgeted in May 2014 for elements of the transition project that were not “business as usual”. But actual costs as at the end of the project in March 2015 were £40,000 higher. The latest information put this additional cost down to the one-off the development of an application programming interface (API).
“This was more resource intensive to develop and test than originally estimated. This has now been implemented and is supporting our new HMRC Manuals Beta Service,” the tax department said.
The cost figures provided up to December 2014 were for HMRC-invoiced figures and did not include Government Digital Service (GDS) costs unless specifically invoiced to the Revenue. The figures included a £500,000 one-off payment to GDS for implementing the project that had not been included in the original budget.
HMRC explained that this additional sum was for content design, user research, software developers and management resources devoted to its agile project management approach.
Some savings against budget were achieved on the training side, as an estimated budget for overall training had been included as a contingency. GDS opted for standardised training for new content designers, which allowed HMRC to minimise costs.
Travel costs associated with the transition were also less than estimated. Detailed forward planning and co-ordination helped to reduce the need for face-to-face meetings. The project team used collaboration software to improve efficiency and reduce the need for travel, the department said.