The reason for the ambiguity of the budget statement on Verify has been explained

Yesterday this blog was devoted to Jim Prideaux’s take on the budget. Last night a reader pointed out the reason for the ambiguity,

The success of HMRC’s record tax take this spring was critically dependent on taxpayers ignoring Verify . Moreover, one of the highlights of the budget speach was the abolition of the annual tax return. The programme to achieve this relies on rebuilding the in-house IT skills of HMRC for a post ASPIRE world. It is not based on passing roles to those in Cabinet Office who have been bogged down in the the five year struggle to bring transparency to the murky relationships between HMG and its outsourcing suppliers have resulted from two decades of “over enthusastic” outsourcing.

Should the Cabinet Office teams succeed in their efforts to deliver processes a that work reliably, efficiently and securely, they have a future. Should they not ….

Meanwhile the battle between backward-looking suppliers seeking to preserve a world of cosy, confidential, complex, lawyer-driven outsource contracts and those looking forward to a world of open-inter-operability goes on.

But taxes have to be collected and benefits paid,

That means rebuilding the in-house skills of the civil service (particualrly those of HMRC and DWP) at all levels. Hence some of Francis Maude’s comments earlier this year. But should delivery skills be in Cabinet Office or should it focus on co-ordinating and quality controlling the outputs of those created elsewehere – while departments develop the ability to transition to a world of cross-cutting, co-operative incremental change. I suspect the latter, if we really do want Gov.UK to be more than “lipstick on the face of a herd of pigs”.

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