Pace and progress

Last time you heard from Andrew Sayer, our Communications lead within the Digital team – now it’s my turn! I am the Digital Lead for HMRC and have also been running the Digital Solutions Programme as the Programme Director.

Digital is a very exciting place to work as we develop new services for individuals, and build upon our success in delivering online business services. I’m going to try to give a sense of that excitement by running through what I’ve been doing in recent weeks.

The last two weeks have been pretty jam packed, starting with attending the GDS Sprint Alpha event and sharing my experience in developing digital services with others across government, as well as some of the pain!

I also attended HMRC’s first external stakeholders’ event which was hosted by our Chief Executive Officer Lin Homer and attended by David Gauke MP who opened the event. I hosted a market stall that explained HMRC’s digital ambition – it was a great opportunity to showcase latest versions of our PAYE Online and Tax for My Business software and to get some early user feedback. The main theme from the discussions was how quickly we could develop the Agents Online service so that taxpayer representatives keep pace with the digital revolution – I am working hard on this with colleagues from the Government Digital Service to see what we can do to bring forward the Business Identity Assurance solution and therefore the full Agents Online service. Watch this space for more news. 

We held a digital event for internal stakeholders in which we went through the Department’s digital vision with HMRC people. We explained how the new tax platform can help us to develop a flexible operating model for customers and gave colleagues a taster of the new digital services that come on stream this year and next. Lin Homer attended the first event and was impressed with the “lively level of interest” and is keen to attend future events with other colleagues from HMRC’s Executive Committee. It was great to see Lin at the event and participating in the taster sessions, visibly supporting the digital team.

Sprint four recently concluded, with considerable progress made. In particular it was good to see the very early stages of the Agents exemplar and that the PAYE team had worked through a knotty problem at record speed with colleagues from HMRC’s Business Process Re-engineering team. The change to the process will vastly improve the user journey and customer experience, and bring the benefits of working across teams to life. Elaine Benn, HMRC’s Change Director for Personal Taxes, also attended the showcase and was really impressed by the vibrant atmosphere and motivation of the team. A big thank you to Elaine for taking the time to meet the team, it gave them a great fillip to get Elaine’s endorsement of their work. 

Then it was back to HMRC's offices at 100 Parliament Street, working with colleagues on our plans to strengthen the digital team and build our digital capability in the wider department. We are treading new ground and need to get the delivery model right, so we’re working hard on roles and accountabilities to make sure the digital operation runs smoothly.

Janice Ramsay (who leads the digital portfolio work) and I are also working on the agenda for the first Digital Portfolio Board in August which will include colleagues from across HMRC as well as Cabinet Office, the GDS and HM Treasury. The board will help us to manage the digital change and ensure it meets the HMRC Digital Strategy. At the first board Mike Beaven (GDS) and I will jointly talk through lessons learned from our early work developing digital services. It’s important we get things working well before we start to ramp up our efforts and I am looking forward to the debate and the support of board colleagues.

That’s all from me for now, I leave you in the capable hands of my HMRC digital colleagues who’ll be sharing more about our work in blog posts to come.

Brigid McBride
HMRC Digital Lead

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