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.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Failure Is Key To HMRC Strategy - Pimping Out Its Front End

Phil Pavitt, former CIO of HMRC, has put his head above the parapet and claimed that many government departments (including HMRC) are likely to fail in their quest to be truly digital because they are still reliant on legacy systems.

Pavitt, now CIO of Specsavers, was speaking at Nimbus Ninety's Ignite conference.

He is quoted by Computing:
"Where the UK government has played it wrong in many of its departments, is that it has pimped out its front-end, but it has not changed its legacy engines - that is not truly digital.

That will fundamentally catch them out as it has caught out many companies in the UK and Europe already.

People think digital is having an app - that's why people are getting it wrong and I know because I've worked for government for so many years, and for so many years they thought that the app was the front bit, but actually it's the whole experience."
Interesting, if you read carefully what he says, he is basically saying that despite working for government for so many years he was not able to influence the incorrect mindset of the government.

A sad legacy indeed!

Pavitt then went on to talk specifically about HMRC:
"It's one of the largest government bodies that's online anywhere in the world, but you try to do your taxes online - it's not the easiest thing is it?"
Adding that failure was a key part of any digital strategy - something he emphasised in his first presentation at HMRC:
"I said ‘we are going to make so many mistakes it is going to be painful, we are going to be on a Daily Mail front headline and indeed we were several times."
Warming to his theme he then had a well deserved pop at consultants:
"The consultants that sell that to you are lying to you, they are selling their goods. It's about the ease of the user, and the subtlety is small but significant.

Most organisations say that you have to spend a whole pile of money to do this, and I've personally never had that experience; I believe it's a fundamental lie from the IT supplier industry in that space.  
Digital is something that has to come from the legacy engine to the very front end and if your digital stack doesn't do that or you're told you can only do it with a huge investment, that's not true."
In a nut shell:
- HMRC has wasted a large amount of money
- HMRC will fail, because its legacy systems are crap
- Pavitt was ignored when he worked for HMRC

Hindsight is wonderful when you have left for the private sector!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Pavitt talks like gangsta rap man, walks the walk and generally sounds like a bucket of geek speak mixed with marketing goo.
    The truth about IT is that it generally costs far more than the manual system it 'replaced', doesn't work as well as it is more susceptible to human error and uses more paper as idiot managers can't grasp the basics that it was there to replace paperwork not generate it!
    IT is now self perpetuating and a golden money tree for the associated global players.
    Continuous failure to handle IT contracts by pis poor management in the public sector, particularly the bigger departments such as MOD, HMRC, NEW etc, has led to a massive waste of taxpayers (not fucking customers, FFS! ), and a legacy of ineptitude in service to the public.
    Pavitt got out through the revolving doors seeing from within how serious the IT mess in HMRC really is. The politicians know but like management are bunnies in the headlights and hoping for a miracle.
    You ain't seen nothing yet folks, wait till the real picture emerges.

  2. I had to listen to all the bollox this man spouted out when he was in hmrc selling his 'vision' . A gun for hire he has flitted from organisation to organisation. All very well saying how crap the legacy systems underpinning the latest sexed up apps are now he is working in the private sector. Why didn't he effect radical change during his tenure at HMRC. The man is just a self publicist.

    1. Spot on. He said something like the IT was going to work away in the background and we wouldn' t even know it was there. Has his replacement not gone also?

  3. fat cats lining their own pockets while treading on the minions. attitude of 'we know its crap but we're not going to admit it'........... get on with your job!!!!!

  4. The pen is mightier than the sword.
    BBC Panorama, Zone D, 4th Floor, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, UK, W1A 1AA
    Watchdog, W1 NBH 07C, BBC New Broadcasting House,Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
    just add yours to the flow of excrement heading their way.

  5. wtf !... something's going on, anyone know what?