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HMRC quiet on GOV.UK savings

8th Jun 2015
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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.

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By taxbakbristol
12th Jun 2015 03:29

WHY?

Why are HMRC spending time and what seems a paltry sum of money doing things that did not need doing?

It takes me much longer now , much longer to find things.It took me 40 minutes finding where the latest SA 100 was located.

As for the FOI reply what des it mean? I don't understand any of it?

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By Exector
12th Jun 2015 10:08

HMRC basically pressured to do things before they are ready

What the hell business has a publicly funded & publicly used interface facility got being released  FOR OBLIGATORY USE as BETA software even as the previous system in place is being removed. Eg this is what the HMRC software online filing of ERS returns says- it is in Beta format & even has a feedback form for "improvements" whilst it is now being required to undertake mandatory filings, which cannot be done any other way! Its just bananas. I'm pretty certain any commercial organisation planning such changes would run the systems in parallel for some considerable time before removing any legacy system. In the end I blame the Treasury which uses  "commercial approach" dogma to justify the required "efficiency "savings without looking at the other end of the private sector commercial imperatives drivers, the potential impact on income and profits, as there are no actual bloody paying customers, despite the incessant references to such by HMRC itself and no alternative service provider to switch too!

Interesting how allegedly commercially focussed public sector assessments are all one way.

 

Addendum Just noted piece re Paul Aplin's campaign for an  independent HMRC oversight. Good if independent of both HMRC & Government holding the purse strings- perhaps then someone will look properly at how effective the service is rather than just how cheap or costly and they might stop the stealth shift of administrative cost burdens on to private sector through trying to rectify HMRC system shortfalls.

 

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