Inland Revenue IT pioneer loses cancer battle

Angela Vivian, a pioneer of IT-based modernisation at the Inland Revenue who later campaigned for broadband in rural areas, has...

Angela Vivian, a pioneer of IT-based modernisation at the Inland Revenue who later campaigned for broadband in rural areas, has lost a short battle against cancer.

During the Inland Revenue's major expansion in the use of IT in the 1990s, Vivian was put in charge of many of the associated activities to make the system work. She visited all 509 tax districts in England and Wales to check that staff were coping with the new systems, and followed each visit with a letter of thanks to every person she had met.

In 1997, at the age of 60, and much to her annoyance, she retired from the Inland Revenue, and remarked, "I am not retired, just changing direction."

Vivian believed that local communities should use the internet to influence politics at a local and national level, and she was in regular contact with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Oracle. She used her experience as former head of the Revenue's electronic publishing unit to push towards her goal of online health, commercial and government services being made available in rural villages across the UK.

In 1991 Vivian was awarded an OBE for her services to the Inland Revenue, where she had worked for 40 years.

Alan Mather, chief of delivery at the Cabinet Office's e-government unit and a friend, said, "Angela styled herself TOL, or 'the old lunatic', although I would see the world a much saner place if we all had half of her wisdom, energy and passion."

Thanks to the Royal Society of Arts, where Angela Vivian was a regional chair, for some of the information in this obituary

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