HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Sweet Smell of Bullshit - Hardware Fault

The Sweet Smell of Bullshit
Those of you who got stuck in the IT "snafu" with HMRC's online filing system, when trying to file your tax returns online on 31 January this year, may be interested to know what the cause of the systems crash was.

Contrary to earlier stories spread by Dave Hartnett that the crash was down to hacking and other nefarious issues, the real cause is far more mundane.

It was a hardware fault that caused 15,000 people to be unable to file their tax returns.

Quite what the nature of the hardware fault was remains a mystery, as HMRC has not disclosed the exact nature of the fault.

Which is rather odd really, given the fact that they work for us. Don't the taxpayers have the right to know what the problem is, given that we are paying for this "service"?

Is "service" a wee bit of an exagerration?

Tim Burr, National Audit Office Comptroller wrote in his report on HMRC's 2007 to 2008 accounts:

"The department secured assurances from its supplier that the online service could be supported at the expected volumes at the peak period.

However, on the day the hardware problem meant that the level of customer attempts to use the online service could not be supported

Capgemini supplies IT to HMRC under the "popular" with HMRC's staff Aspire contract, which allegedly aims to overhaul technology and reduce running costs.

HMRC and Capgemini are quoted in Computerworld UK:

"The technical issues were caused by a hardware problem which was triggered by a spike in logins. Our systems had been thoroughly capacity tested but this hardware problem meant that we did not manage the January 31 peak as well as we would have liked."


The "spike" was puny in terms of professional well run IT systems. Had they really tested it properly, and designed it well, this would not have happened.

Complete Bullshit!

The hardware was replaced in February.

Why did "nearly man" Hartnett tell the world that the crash was down to hackers, given that the real reason must have been known at the time?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. That explanation doesn't wash or make sense!

    Google/Microsoft/Yahoo serve billions of people around the world on a daily basis... rarely do we see problems like those at HMRC; and they serve far fewer people over a much shorter timescale.

    These systems should be sustainable under the heaviest of DDOS; so it should make light work of a few hundred thousand login attempts.

    £50 says we experience the same catalog of errors this year...

    National Plates Off Day 2008
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  2. Lost your £50 then. This system is built to service a peak demand like no other. Most of the year it runs at 2% capacity. Do you want to waste even more taxpayers money to cater for the morons that wait until the last week in january to file? PS you are correct tho - jan 2008 hardware failure my ass.