HMRC Halves IT Spending In Two Years

Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) has halved its IT spending from £1.4 billion to around £700 million in just two years.

HMRC CIO Phil Pavitt made the claims at the public sector efficiency expo in London, adding that it had been achieved through increased efficiency rather than reducing the quality of its service, reports The Guardian.

IT doesn’t have to be taxing

Pavitt said that HMRC expects to reduce its outlay still further and predicted that at the end of the spending review, its IT expenditure would amount to just over £600 million. He also said that the National Audit Office had confirmed that service quality had “dramatically improved”.

It hopes to achieve this by making current suppliers match their competitor’s lower quotes and by making better decisions when purchasing applications. He added that it had consolidated 31 Consumer Relationship Management (CRM platforms) to just one and that it had also improved the IT that powers its call centres.

“We identified one of those and said, ‘Okay, we’re going to migrate to that,” said Pavitt. “Whatever that one is we’re also going to modernise to the latest version,’ which we perhaps hadn’t always had in every part of our business.”

The costs of such a plan are kept down by a commercial arrangement that sees one supplier performing the migration and then the upgrade, meaning that no capital investment is required of HMRC. Pavitt said that the cost of the new platform was cheaper than maintaining the old one and that it plans to replace every single application in the next four years for less than £20 million, a reduction from the original estimate of £200 million.

HMRC claims to have saved more than £126 million by introducing online tax filing, despite fears that taxpayers may be in danger of falling for email phishing scams. It has also enlisted the help of ‘web robots’ to search the internet for information on tax cheats and a new computer system found that the authority had incorrectly taxed millions of people in 2010.

Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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