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HMRC estimates its IT project costs

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HM Revenue and Customs is running 25 major IT projects worth at least £197m, but is unwilling to provide accurate estimates.

Its largest IT project appears to be its estates consolidation and transformation programme, valued at £32m-£35m and due for completion in March 2012.

In a parliamentary written answer on 24 November 2008, Treasury minister Stephen Timms also said that HMRC has five projects worth more than £20m. These are enterprise infrastructure, with an implementation date of December 2011, the Excise movement and control system (October 2010), implementation of Lord Carter's recommendations on online services (December 2012), modernising PAYE processes for customers (June 2010) and Spectrum (March 2009).

It listed two other projects worth more than £10m: import/export/community transit systems, worth £10m-£20m and due for completion in March 2010 and its managed data transfer service, costing £10m-£15m and due in April 2009.

The minimum value of the projects comes to £197m in total. The maximum total value of the 20 projects where a range was given is £179m, plus the five projects which will each cost more than £20m.

The data was provided in a parliamentary written answer to Grant Shapps, the Conservative shadow minister for communities and local government.

"Many of our IT projects are at an early stage in their development lifecycle, and detailed technical solutions and IT supplier costs are yet to be established," said Timms, explaining the vagueness of the numbers. "The figures shown below are therefore estimates and remain subject to revision, finalisation and formal investment approval."

Most other departments have issued single estimates or narrow ranges, rather than broad ranges, for IT projects.

In response to similar questions on the Ministry of Justice, minister Maria Eagle said that the ministry's total IT budget in 2007-08 was £660m.

"This includes the cost of running the live operational services across the ministry, the costs of new IT developments and the transition costs to new IT suppliers for the former Department for Constitutional Affairs," she said, adding that funding plans for 2009-11 have not been agreed, and would not therefore release a list of IT projects.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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