back to article New HMRC IT boss to 'recuse' herself over Microsoft decisions

The UK's incoming Chief Digital Information Officer of HMRC is to recuse herself from making any decisions regarding Microsoft, as she is on sabbatical from the company under a two-year placement with the taxman. Jacky Wright was named as CDIO last week, and will take up the £180,000 per annum role in October 2017. She is …

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  1. MMR

    Ha!

    That's like putting a fox in charge of a chickencoop.

    Or a bear overlooking a beehive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bear overlooking a beehive? Jacky Wright certainly likes her Buzzwords...

      Jacky Wright certainly likes her Buzzwords, that's for sure (watching clips of her on youtube).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf1lCarFotk

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQBtSKUDj3k

      Boy, the bullshit meter is in overdrive here.

      Pink Cloud? (Female's implementing cloud infrastructure) - FFS, it reads like a script of an episode of W1A.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bear overlooking a beehive? Jacky Wright certainly likes her Buzzwords...

        Struggling to watch without getting angry. Just fing talk normally and cut the business BULLSHIT, then more people might respect you more. Business bullshit annoys me, probably why I'll never become a manager.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Bear overlooking a beehive? Jacky Wright certainly likes her Buzzwords...

        Jacky certainly knows her Onions about Virtual Communication.

        Perhaps she could entertain Alien SeeScapes. Introduce and Provide Info to the Masses on that which is Now and for Quality Quantum Systems, Available.

        Is AI Script Needed and Readily Available to Control Commandeering Commanders/NEUKlearer Kids in the Hood?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bear overlooking a beehive? Jacky Wright certainly likes her Buzzwords...

        Hey it's Diane Abott's little sister - are they equally numerate?

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    National security

    Shirley running all of or much of the UK's tax system on a foreign OS that is known to phone home a great deal is a national security risk ( In the vein of US vs Kaspersky)? Or does MS promise not to do anything naughty with whatever it slurps from HMRC?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: National security

      "Shirley running all of or much of the UK's tax system on a foreign OS that is known to phone home a great deal"

      That's only in the consumer Windows versions, not the enterprise and server versions. (Those can send error reports if desired to Microsoft but it's centrally controllable.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: National security

        Although I have to wonder if reports on the applications your firm is using might be turned to Microsoft's advantage one way or another. Any insight is useful when the salesman comes to call.

      2. John Sanders
        Windows

        Re: National security

        >> That's only in the consumer Windows versions

        Son, I have this wonderful "London Bridge" to sell you here, look, cheap, cheap, nice and shiny, have I mentioned it is cheap?.

        I'm absolutely sure anyone in the USA's state department can order these "enterprise editions" have "accidentally" activated the siphon if the need arises.

        Windows has always been as transparent as a muddy swamp.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: National security

          The fine folks in Arizona finally realized that London Bridge wasn't a money maker? Took 'em long enough.

  3. Red Bren
    Pirate

    Recusal

    JW (to public): "I will recuse myself from any decision involving Microsoft."

    JW (to underling): "It's almost time for your performance review. How are getting on with that thing I'm recused from?"

  4. Halfmad Silver badge

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot talk about Microsoft..

    However I would like to say how beautiful this building is, I mean those victorian WINDOWS are stunning, absolutely trustworthy and secure, absolutely those Windows are TEN out of TEN.

  5. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The incoming Chief Digital Information Officer of HMRC is to recuse herself from making any decisions regarding Microsoft, as she is on sabbatical from the company under a two-year placement with the taxman.

    How is this even possible, how can somebody be hired as a civil servant while still being on the books of a large foreign corporation ? How is this even possible ?

    Now, consider for one second, the person in question is a corporate vice president of said foreign corporation ...

  6. Tinslave_the_Barelegged
    Linux

    The Elop solution

    Presumably this ends with Microsoft buying out HMRC and then dismantling it, saying tax isn't part of its core business, something everyone except the person receiving the brown envelope in Cayman knows.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least....

    ...they aren't looking at Google Apps for Work. Microsoft licencing will be cheaper for them as they are local government and Microsoft tend to drop the cost of migration to Office 365 as part of their deal.

    Anyway. Whats to say (and I'm not saying she will, this is hypothetical) she doesn't "invite" "mates" (directors in charge of getting the contracts) around for "dinner" and they then discuss the "Book Club" they are going to start up (the possible Microsoft procurements on going at work) and then she "suggests what books they read that week" (what Microsoft contracts to pick). They'll be no record of said talks at the "Book Club" and no one would be able to prove otherwise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: At least....

      "At least....

      ...they aren't looking at Google Apps for Work."

      Presumably they would also need features like DRM that can actually work on a private network and not rely on web link ACLs to Google's cloud...

  8. Archaon
    FAIL

    What?

    So they've employed someone in a well paid, top dog IT management position with a 2 year contract who now can't make decisions that relate to client devices (Desktop, Laptop, Mobile), software (Office, IaaS, PaaS etc) and the majority of servers and storage (Windows Server, Cloud).

    I mean, there is actually a lot left for an organisation of that size, but methinks perhaps not £180k worth when I'm sure anyone without the MS link would have to deal with it all for the same package?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What?

      Frankly the only meaty decisions involving MS that would be made at the CDIO level are whether or not to use Azure (i.e. vs AWS vs UKCloud). Everything else is either handled through a framework agreement, delegated to CabO or such a non-decision that it wouldn't hit her desk.

      MS are in no way, shape or form the "majority of servers and storage". Client devices, certainly, but that's the same as every organisation the planet. Everything on the back end is run on Linux or some form of Unix.

      Now if this were an Oracle or SAS or SAP exec they'd recruited you'd have a point.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What?

        MS are in no way, shape or form the "majority of servers and storage".

        So Aspire has finally(?) migrated the thousands of NT/W2K/W2k3 servers (both physical and virtual)...

        Another story that would be of interest here, but not the mainstream media.

        Also are you suggesting HMC aren't using G-Cloud (aka Azure for government) users...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What?

          Those thousands of windows servers (mostly hosting CAFs and other similar nonsense) are outnumbered 5 to 1 by non-windows boxen. 100:1 or more if you go by business value or capacity or criticality etc. etc. They're commodity background stuff that every business has, not mission-critical strategic delivery pieces, which is what CDIO (the person) looks after.

          And yes, HMRC's use of Azure is not substantial, as it is only rated to OFFICIAL so can't do much.

          Azure should not be confused with G-cloud, which is a purchasing framework run by CabO and avoided by most of the rest of central government.

  9. Reader2435

    HMRC web-crash

    I had the great misfortune to need to use the HMRC site last week. I've never seen such an absolute train-crash of a website. The form I wanted required login... to get to a public *form*, not any data. The login page forwarded not to the form that the link had promised but to a 403 Access error... for a form!

    The complaints form was public but you had to already have a valid complaint reference before you could register a complaint... no, I kid you not!

    The online support chat service was staffed by someone who could not (or would not) use any capital letters or punctuation and knew less about their own job than they did about English.

    Just incredible. I'm no fan of M$ but if they were allowed to sneak their grubby paws into the till at least we might get a working system out of it...

  10. colinb

    Illeism

    She seems to talk about herself in the third person.

    e.g. from an Interview with CIO "Her answer is disarmingly simple. "That's who Jacky is.""

    So has yet to fully grasp the use of "I" and "me" or perhaps is projecting a fake persona.

    Her previous role seemed to be guiding Teams on what they already know about Enterprise Software features.

    She will be lucky to move the needle on any projects in 24 months.

  11. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Joke

    "The department can assure you that the fact that the CIO came from Microsoft has nothing whatever to do with the HMRC's choice of sole IT hardware and software supplier," said their new spokesman, Clippy.

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Hat Eating Territory...:-)

    She will be lucky to move the needle on any projects in 24 months. ... colinb

  13. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Nokia

    Reminds me of when Elop went to 'work' at Nokia. Are HMRC becoming a division of Microsoft in 2 years time then?

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    HMRC

    Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Chums

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. pleb

    How is it that simple? I don't take decisons about using Microsoft, only about using Libre Office? Etc.

  17. sitta_europea

    "In totally unrelated matters, Microsoft avoided £100m in tax payments on UK revenue of £8bn by using a confidential deal to book sales in Ireland, The Sunday Times reported in summer 2016."

    If I did something like that, would they give me a job for 180,000 per year?

    Or would they just throw me in jail?

  18. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Sabbatical

    They should have offered the job to the Prime Minister - most probably Mrs May would jump at the opportunity to take a 2 year sabbatical right now and have an increase in pay at the same time. As for being a suitable candidate for the job, I am sure she'll be more effective as she wouldn't have to recuse herself every time Microsoft is mentioned

  19. Milton

    Sabbatical

    A sabbatical which Microsoft reluctantly agreed to out of the charitable goodness of its warm heart ...

    ... Not because it's looking for ways to infect more and more clueless organisations with its bloatware.

    Redmond must be awash with tears of laughter at the pathetic naivete of HMRC.

  20. Duffy Moon
    Joke

    Maybe she'll save HMRC some money

    Presumably she still gets a staff discount?

  21. RonWheeler

    Grey areas

    Trouble is, there are a lot of greay areas where the damage could already have been done. Hypothetically - I have no evidence either way. What if for example Google came in offering a truly fantasitc G-drive price offering a year ago but it got pushed back 24 months till after the MS negotiations. Where OneDrive type stuff will probably become part of the bundle on the table.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will They Ever Learn?

    Government departments seem expert at hiring IT leaders who are either:

    - Academically overqualified -> no real use when s**t happens

    - Great corporate project managers -> no accountability, ever

    - Candidates with glaring conflicts of interest -> no impartiality and planning their exit

    If in doubt, pick a department and check the IT leaders background and what job they picked up after they completed their 2-3 year posting.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five or ten years ago, here in Canada, some Microsoft exec., took a key role at Canada Revenue Agency, I think it was, for several years. It appears that person was in the position long enough to ensure the MS was the key provider for a lot of software that many thought could have been done for less and more reliably without them.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was it something I said?

    No, I don't think people like that read The Register, but just leave me 5 minutes with the illusion that I did make someone realise with my post that there are people out there who *know*, and are still watching.

    OK, back to normal life.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm fairly cynical, yet, the blatant graft and corruption in politics still shocks me.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm fairly cynical, yet, the blatant graft and corruption in politics still shocks me.

    You ain't seen nothing yet. Join the military, that will recalibrate your cynicism to either new heights or depressing depths, take your pick. Worse, the two (politics/military) feed off each other.

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