Meet the new Head of Software Developer Collaboration

Hi, I'm Lee Hawksworth and I'm delighted to have joined Brigid McBride's team to head up HMRC's Software DevLee Hawkswortheloper Collaboration.

It sounds great, but what does it really mean? Well, I might be better placed to answer that in a few weeks! But today what I think it means is simply this...

An open, honest, respectful and innovative close working collaboration between the software developer community and HMRC to produce and operate great digital tax products for individuals, businesses and their agents so they can quickly and easily comply with their tax obligations.

I've worked in HMRC for a while so I know we already do this. HMRC has a long and productive relationship working with software developers. Indeed, if we look at the existing services where we collaborate with software developers, the majority of digital transactions come from third party software. Of the 1.1 billion annual HMRC digital transactions, three quarters of these are completed through an API using a third party software product. And we're going to be doing a lot more of it!

We published the HMRC third party tax software and API strategy towards the end of last year, with the clear intent of promoting a ‘third-party software first’ approach for businesses and agents whilst giving greater access to APIs. Some strategy publications can be heavy going, but this one is simply written and in a few pages tells you how and why we will be doing a lot more with APIs.

HMRC's 3 strategic objectives

API Strategy

I will be leading and working with a number of teams across HMRC to help deliver the HMRC third party tax software and API strategy, some I already know about which I mention below, some I will no doubt be finding out about, and others which haven’t started yet!

We've mobilised an API Programme to deliver a number of projects and work strands to meet the API Strategy whilst driving awareness of the 'API first' approach. I’ll make sure the software developer community is represented and that we engage with them across all these  projects and work strands.

Our progress so far:

  • Our Software Developer Support Team is working with the software developer community on the business critical range of existing XML APIs
  • The HMRC API Developer Hub has been built and delivered. Currently in private beta, which my team colleague Umer Ehsan Head of Design and Delivery blogged about recently, it'll move into public beta soon
  • API Roadmap. We've delivered our first 3 new API services from the roadmap to the HMRC API Developer Hub
    • Self Assessment Pre-population
    • National Insurance Pre-population
    • Marriage Allowance API

They’re in sandbox (test) mode but we’re working on delivering the live mode soon. We're also working on the delivery of other APIs from the roadmap which we’ll need to collaborate on so I'll blog you when the time comes

  • Software Developers Conferences. We're working with the Making Tax Digital programme assessing how APIs can support the delivery. I know many software developers are involved in kick off consultations, one of which I'm attending on the 02 March so I might see you there!
  • We're working with the Customs Declaration Service Programme, assessing how APIs can support the delivery. More will be coming out on that very soon too
  • We've just started some very early inception work for 'PAYE Payroll', looking at Electronic Data Interchange and how this can align with the HMRC third party tax software and API strategy. We've recruited a product manager, so as soon as he has gathered some initial thoughts, I've no doubt he’ll share them with us
  • We’ve built a new 'Collaboration Zone' to provide an impressive, physical space for software developers and HMRC teams to work together in our Shipley office as part of the Digital Delivery Centre Yorkshire. Unfortunately the Shipley office was badly damaged by the floods at the end of last year, which impacted many businesses and residents. The Shipley office is being repaired, but the damage was quite extensive so we'll also include some further updates on when we expect to be able to open again.

I hope that gives you a flavour of how this is all coming together, albeit a relatively brief run through from 'what the new boy has picked up so far'.

I'm really looking forward to the work and the challenges ahead with this large and critical piece of HMRC's Digital Strategy.

If anyone would like to contact me direct, that would be great. Any thoughts or feedback are most welcome. Please feel free to drop me a line at


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  1. Comment by Peter Gransden (PAYEsoft Inc) posted on

    Payroll software developer here...
    I probably only have to send in one support query each year to your team, It gets answered promptly and resolves the issue immediately... Carry on the good work 🙂

  2. Comment by Aldo Ceccarelli posted on

    Dear Lee, from Italy we support software development for a company in UK and we are very impressed (as already commented in the past to EMCS and HMRC expert Teams) by your innovative and open way of considering as e-gov end user experience and ideas from the beginning of any project they will have delivered in the future. I am trying to keep Italian national innovators posted on your approach as I dream to see it in Italy too in the years to come.

    Congratulations and thanks to go on like that!