As we all know HMRC has had a few problems (eg cost overruns, project delays, technical glitches, data loss etc) wrt its Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The Cabinet Orifice has recognised that one of the problems with ICT matters (Whitehall wide) is the exclusion of SMEs from government business and project meetings.
Therefore HMRC, at the behest of the Cabinet Orifice, has told Capgemini to include SMEs in project meetings in Whitehall (Capgemini subcontracts the HMRC £8.5BN Aspire contract to over 240 suppliers).
Another fundamental problem with large IT contracts, where SMEs are excluded from project meetings etc, is the danger of outsourcing firms inflating prices and suppressing innovation (ie ripping the taxpayer off).
Mark Hall, deputy CIO at HMRC, is quoted by Computer Weekly:
"We have started a new process called Tripartite.
Which is where we were always challenged, around getting everybody to the table.
So now when we have conversations, the prime contractor, ourselves and the SME delivering the goods are in the same conversation.
We are working around cost savings and working very closely and collaboratively with the cabinet office. This is not just about what we can negotiate, its about what UK government can negotiate."
HMRC are also looking to identify where its expenditure is delivering value.
"This is quite challenging for supply chains because it demands transparency."
Seemingly, on top of "Lean", the new word in HMRC's "management speak" is "Agile".
Well good luck to them trying to improve the performance of their outsourced contractors.
However, some may be tempted to suggest that HMRC also needs to improve its own internal performance.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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