back to article Big fat doubt hovers over's Making Tax Digital, customs declaration IT projects

A raft of major government IT projects are in serious trouble, including flagship programmes such as HMRC's Making Tax Digital and its Customs Declaration Service. The Infrastructure Projects Authority's annual report today (PDF) flagged nine government ICT projects as amber/red, meaning successful delivery is in doubt, with …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    No surprise of course

    This would be boring it it wasn't putting everyone at serious risk.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: No surprise of course

      It's not called Making Tax Difficult for nothing you know.

  2. BebopWeBop

    Shortening the title - and keeping it accurate /prophetic

    Big fat doubt hovers over's IT projects

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my yooff, OK a little later, OK a lot later than that

    I was providing external assessments on a range of projects that ranged from the ill-fated Fire Control system through the beginnings of the emergency services comms programme and others.

    I came into a meeting in Westminster and was greeted with 'Ahhh Dr Cassandra how nice of you to join us' (I was early). I had the satisfaction of being able to say 'But Cassandra was proved correct, even if none of the lemmings believed her'. Not that they ever did, technology still appears to raise the dead amongst other miracles.

    Anon but not apocryphal (in the benign sense).

  4. steelpillow Silver badge

    hardware, software, users and politics

    Hawker Aircraft's famed designer Sir Sydney Camm used to say that an aircraft has four dimensions - length, width, height and politics.

    One is tempted to suggest that any IT system also comprises four elements - hardware, software, users and politics.

    Get any one wrong and it will prove royally stuffed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: an aircraft has four dimensions - length, width, height and politics.

      Nicked for use in the future ! :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the kids of today have no imagination... how can you replace CHIEF with something as boringly named as CDS!

  6. codejunky Silver badge


    More government? They cant even manage what they already do.

  7. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    What's the reason for all these failures?

    Seriously, imagine that these projects had been done in a country where you expect things to work, like Japan or Switzerland or Germany or wherever; what would have gone better? What are the mistakes that would have been avoided?

    1. sales@

      Re: What's the reason for all these failures?

      The repeated failures in government-created IT projects make clear that there is a great need for seminars and workshops for government staff on HOW TO RUN AN IT PTOJECT. Soon.

      A TheReg Conference first, to collect examples ?

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: What's the reason for all these failures?

      The procurement process is over-complicated and badly broken, in essence it is a game of bureaucratic tickboxes. ends up buying from the outfits who are good at the game, not from those who are good at delivering IT. Oversight is then put in the hands of Paris Hilton (good choice of icon there!) or some even less competent politician. Tower contracts were a self-defeating attempt to fix the worst symptoms, not the disease.

    3. herman Silver badge

      Re: What's the reason for all these failures?

      Err... I would like to refer you to the Berlin Airport project, for the height of German project management...

  8. Mage


    No wonder there is some scepticism outside Westminster about the NI / Ireland Border IT project, AKA Alternative Arrangement. Such a thing doesn't exist anywhere and the UK Gov IT Experts are going to be first? Maybe they'll outsource to Capita, Google or Fujitsu?

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: ha!

      Where's your 'can do' attitude. That's all that's missing, a complete triumph of hope over experience.

      After all if the Americans could land a man on the moon inside 10 years by spending $20B then adjusting for inflation, the UK should be able to build a border control system for £100B in the same time (OK, add 5 years for project overruns) so call it just a little more than membership of the EU would cost over the same time period.

  9. SGJ

    The Report is definitely in the Red category (if only I could see it)

    I tried to read the report but, as I am colour blind (along with up to 10% of men) I found it impossible to distinguish between the amber/amber green colours and the red/green colours. I'd rate the report "Red" if only I could read it.

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: The Report is definitely in the Red category (if only I could see it)

      Don't need to be colour blind to interpret it that way.

  10. DontFeedTheTrolls

    "Don't worry about Brexit, we'll be able to fix all the challenges Brexit brings with technology"

  11. Sirius Lee

    I think you need to do some more credibility testing especially over the VAT filing. As a small business owner my experience is that submissions for the last three quarters have been seemless. Maybe the single person used as an example is one of those that gripe when any change is made. Do you remember the whining when online businesses had to start paying VAT back at the beginning of 2015? Where are they now?

    Why not provide some more and specific details. Perhaps chase up other business owners reporting issues rather than relying on one example. Surely Sage and other volume processors would have some stories if the issue is real. They have no advantage keeping quiet if the problem is with HMRC. The "we've been trying for two weeks" line seems unlikely unless the user has made a mistake or is using software that does not work.

  12. PeterM42

    Re-arrange these words....

    could to a piss-up brewery in a able not manage

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Re-arrange these words....

      They'd probably say that line was completely correct as it stands.

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