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Tax department targets IT downtime

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HM Revenue and Customs is stepping up efforts to cut the down time of its IT systems.

The department's latest performance report says that improvements in IT availability this year should provide 32,000 extra business hours.

The figure is based on a predicted improvement of 2% on the hours lost due to IT not working in 2008-09.

"Continuous reviews of the quality of local power supplies have also increased the resilience of HMRC sites," says the report.

The department has upgraded 26,000 of its slowest running computers so far this financial year, according to the document. It has moved critical services to new, more secure data centres and speeded up the delivery of IT change requests from staff and managers.

HMRC is also rolling out the Connect data matching tool, which is now being used at five profiling centres, and developing solutions to improve data sorting through the Evidence and Exploitation Project, which it claims will enable staff to focus more on civil and criminal activities.

Work is also continuing on IT systems to support anti-fraud operations and criminal casework.

The document reports a 38% drop in the number of reported cases involving staff misuse of customers' personal data to 109, including access to customer data on IT systems, for the first six months of 2009. This is well ahead of the target for a 15% reduction for the whole year, and follows a programme of awareness training for staff and managers within the department.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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

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