HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a recruitment drive to seek out more than 50 digital specialists to work at a new digital centre in the North East.
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HMRC digital staff and suppliers will work together to identify the needs of taxpayers, test new services with real users, and improve them once released to the public.
“The digital centres will foster a culture of innovation not seen across government before so that we can continually find new ways of supporting customers," said HMRC’s chief digital and information officer, Mark Dearnley.
When the government confirmed plans to digitise public services just over a year ago, the Cabinet Office estimated it could save £1.7bn by 2015 by moving public transactions online. Of that £1.7bn, £1.2bn could be made by making everyday transactions digital, it said.
The HMRC digital centres will foster a culture of innovation not seen across government before
Mark Dearnley, HMRC
Mike Bracken, executive director of digital for the UK Government, said: “Starting with the needs of users has led to a radical shift in the way we build and provide government services. Digital by default will make tax simpler, clearer and faster for users, and bring new skills and ways of working into HMRC.
"The department’s exemplar digital services will go live by 2014, and Government Digital Service will work closely with HMRC to develop its digital talent in the North East and throughout the UK.”
Four HMRC exemplar services are being transformed into digital services as part of the government’s plan to transform 25 departmental services. The four HMRC services are currently in beta (the final test phase before going public), and include PAYE for employees, digital self-assessment, your tax account, and agent online self-serve.
One of these exemplars is DWP’s Universal Credit, which has been criticised for writing off millions of pounds of wasted IT. It currently sits in beta mode on the new website, which states it is supporting 10 million adults.
HMRC said it will initially recruit 50 digital specialists for the new centre, and jobs will range from product managers, interaction designers and user researchers, to technical architects and software developers.
Candidates must demonstrate that they understand the potential of digital services to transform customers’ experiences of managing their tax affairs.
Vacancies will be open to existing HMRC staff and external candidates from 27 January. Following this, a further 30 existing HMRC staff will work at the centre.
HMRC also plans to open another digital centre focused on digital analytics later in the year, but it is not known where this will be located.