Feeds

HMRC splurges on IT consultants

Skills shortage costs £130,000 a day

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is spending about £130,000 a day on IT consultancy fees because of internal skills shortages, a Treasury sub-committee has heard.

Acting chairman Paul Gray admitted to the parliamentary committee that HMRC was spending about £650 per day on approximately 200 consultants and secondees at its Southend office in a bid to improve its IT systems following its merger two years ago.

The consultants are being deployed because of a shortage of appropriate skills in-house needed to deliver change.

Gray said at the meeting on the merger between HM Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue, held on 24 January 2007, that the department is training inhouse staff to the right levels alongside the use of consultants, so that it can "become less dependent on consultants" in the future.

Meanwhile, he refused to answer MPs' questions over whether the implementation of a Strategic Integrated Desktop Environment (Stride) has helped push the merger over the estimated £75m budget, outlined in the Regulatory Impact Assessment over 2004-05 and 2005-06.

"It is difficult to calculate the cost of the merger," clarified treasury sub-committee chairman Michael Fallow. "You do not know if it (the merger) was £2m or £10m over budget?"

Gray replied: "It is difficult to know what is beyond the merger costs. Some of it (IT integration) was down to general updates."

The department is spending £500m a year on the Transformational Government programme on top of £300m over three years provided by the Treasury. But at the same time it plans to make efficiency savings of £500m accumulated over three years, mainly through the use of IT and a reduction in staffing of 3,200.

In a memo to the committee, the department said: "It was anticipated that these savings would initially come through the formation of single organisations for finance, human resources, large business IT and estates.

"In addition, integration has offered the opportunities to make savings in areas such as debt management, contact centres and specialist compliance areas."

Gray also admitted the department would not meet all its objectives by the 2008 deadline. That was likely to happen by 2011.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.