Feeds

MPs slams Customs on suck it and see IT

Hey, that's our money you're throwing away

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Customs & Excise is spending vast sums on IT for uncertain benefits, according to an influential group of MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee slammed Customs for spending "huge sums of public money without being confident about the scale of likely benefits". It also said the department had failed to properly test e-services before roll-out.

Customs has so far spent £100m on its e-government programme, but traders are still sending their VAT returns on paper - because the e-VAT service is more complicated. Customs has a e-government budget of £327m which takes it to 2010, so there is plenty more taxpayers' money that can go to waste.

The MPs also note that Customs' Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with Fujitsu has increased from £500m to £929m. It said it was hard to tell if Customs has got a good deal because "many of expected benefits remain to be demonstrated".

Customs must offer services electronically as part of the e-government programme. By March 2006 it should have achieved 50 per cent takeup of electronic service delivery.

According to the PAC, the introduction of an electronic VAT return in March 2000 was a failure because business had no reason to use the system which was more complicated than the paper-based version. After two years less than one per cent of traders used the service. Customs is considering forcing some companies to complete the electronic form but the PAC said it would be more likely to hit targets by offering a decent service which businesses were willing to use.

Customs was also criticised for its management of consultants. The department spent £28m on 300 consultants between November 2001 and March 2003.

Customs is to be merged with the Inland Revenue later this year - a process meant to be made easier by IT.

The Public Accounts Committee report is here. ®

Related stories

UK gov computer misuse is 'rife'
Dealers win High Court VAT action against Customs
Gov.uk fails to communicate with e-citizens

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.