No surprise of course
This would be boring it it wasn't putting everyone at serious risk.
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 …
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).
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.
The procurement process is over-complicated and badly broken, in essence it is a game of bureaucratic tickboxes. Gov.uk 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.
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.
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.
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.
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