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Taxman two months late on cyber-crimefighters deadline

HMRC still wants our dosh on time though

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HMRC has missed a key deadline to create teams of cyber crime investigators and launch initiatives to counter the increased threat of web attacks on the authority's systems and customers.

In its structural reform plan progress report (PDF) for December, HMRC says work on the project should have been completed by November 2011, but recruitment activity is still ongoing and the scheme will now not be completed until February.

However, some key posts have been filled and the supporting infrastructure is in place, according to the report.

The government has repeatedly said that it plans to address the lack of IT security experts in Whitehall and late last year published its cyber security strategy outlining how it plans to tackle the issue. It was revealed earlier this month that the government's intelligence service GCHQ was offering retention payments to prevent technology experts leaving for big private firms.

Outlining HMRC's progress on other IT projects, the report discloses that "work is ongoing" on the creation of a data link between the registrars and HMRC to facilitate customer claims and counter fraud. The work is due to be completed in June 2012.

HMRC is also working on the roll-out of an online registration wizard and tax dashboard for businesses by the end of April 2012, as well as launching the IT infrastructure for Real Time Information (RTI) during the same period. A campaign to align employer and HMRC data in order to support a smooth pilot and implement RTI data will happen by the end of April 2013, according to the document.

Other central government departments have also published their structural reform plans progress reports for December. The Department of Health reveals (PDF) that it has not yet completed its action to publish a plan and timetable to deliver greater patient control of records, which was scheduled to be completed by December.

"This action is dependent on the outcome of the NHS Future Forum's further advice on information, published in January 2012, to inform the information strategy, which is to be published by April 2012. It is also linked with the broader cross government transparency agenda," says the report.

The long awaited information strategy has been delayed a number of times since plans for an "information revolution" were first outlined in October 2010.

Separately, the Home Office reveals in its progress report (PDF) that it has not yet implemented the new immigration and asylum biometric system, which the government has said will strengthen its ability to control the entry of foreign nationals into the UK and identify those who pose a risk to Britain. The report discloses that this will now be done in February. IBM has a deal with the department to deliver the system.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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