HMRC begins recruitment drive for “world class digital skills”

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced a recruitment drive to hire some of the world’s top digital talent in a bid to make the tax system more efficient and to improve citizen engagement with the department online.

The roles being advertised are varied and range from product managers, agile delivery managers, designers, developers and engineers. A list of the positions can be found here.

Closing date for the applications is Monday 10th February.

The department also recently announced the appointment of Mark Dearnley, currently Vodafone UK’s CIO, as its new Chief Digital and Information Officer. The announcement followed reports that Mark Hall, the department’s acting CIO at the time, was snubbed for the job.

“Our new digital services will make it simpler, clearer and faster for all of our customers to take control of their tax affairs,” the department said.

“We are building a team of outstanding people who will create and run these new and improved digital services. We will be using modern technology and agile development methods, and release as much our work as possible as open source software.”

HMRC is currently undergoing a major overhaul of its multi-billion pound outsourcing contract, Aspire. Awarded in 2004, Aspire was considered one of the ground-breaking outsourcing agreements of its time. Instead of HMRC contracting with a single supplier for all of its IT services, it introduced the idea of a ‘prime’ contractor (in this case Capgemini), which then engaged with a number of sub-contractors (BT, Accenture, Fujitsu, Level 3), and an eco-system of over 250 other suppliers.

However, the department has since said that it wants to introduce agility, innovation and SME contractors to Aspire.

HMRC isn’t going to wait until 2017 (or close to it) to go out to tender and re-let its outsourcing agreements. Instead of a big bang approach, the department is slowly and carefully restructuring the agreement. This is going to involve both taking responsibility away from the department’s core suppliers and bringing it in-house, as well as changing the fundamental components of the contract.

What HMRC is planning, is the transformation of Capgemini’s role as a prime contractor to a client side integrator – a model that is called SSI (service and systems integrator). Under an SSI model, Capgemini will still play a big role in HMRC’s future IT, but unlike traditional outsourcing agreements, most of the risk will lie with the department itself, not Capgemini.

Instead, Capgemini will work alongside HMRC’s IT team, providing skills and experience, but much of the digital capability is going to be brought in-house – hence the recruitment drive.

Underpinning this, HMRC will also work with a number of contractors directly, which will form siloed ‘service towers’ that provide distinct services such as desktops, networks, etc.

HMRC’s digital activities form part of the government’s Digital Strategy, which was launched in 2012, and tasks departments with a digital by default policy and promises to digitise some of the public sector’s largest transactional services in a bid to save £1.7 billion a year after 2015.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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