Claudio Divizia -

HMRC on the hunt for permanent CDIO

New chief digital and information officer will earn at least £200,000 a year and be responsible for a £1bn tech budget

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is recruiting for a permanent chief digital and information officer (CDIO) after the role has been filled on an interim basis since the departure of former CDIO Jacky Wright in October 2019.

HMRC is offering up to £200,000 a year, plus a potential 30% bonus, for the right candidate, who will report directly to CEO Jim Harra.   

The CDIO will be responsible for a budget of just over £1bn, split between an operational budget of £725m and £300m for IT strategic changes.

Wright left the department in October 2019, when she returned to Microsoft after two years at HMRC, where she led the organisation through a cloud migration and launched a data strategy and governance model.

In 2018, Wright was also chosen as the most influential person in UK IT in Computer Weekly’s UKtech50 annual rankings.

Following her departure, HMRC appointed an interim CDIO, Mark Denney, in Novermber 2019 to provide continuity for the department until a permanent replacement could be recruited.

According to the job advert, HMRC is looking for an experienced CIO or CDIO who has “proven experience of leading and embedding transformation, including effective management of very large operational and change budgets”.

It said the candidate will “tackle one of the largest and most challenging roles, not just in the public sector but, in any sector”.

“You will be a critical member of the executive board,” it added. “You will lead one of the biggest digital transformations in Europe as HMRC further leverages digital technology and data during the crucial years ahead.”

HMRC said it is looking for a “strong leader, multilevel communicator and a purpose-driven technology influencer”.

Read more about HMRC

  • Of 292 websites removed since lockdown began on 23 March, 237 were proactively identified by HMRC and 55 were flagged by the public.
  • Jacky Wright, HMRC chief digital and information officer, will return to Microsoft in October after a two-year loan arrangement.
  • HMRC CEO Jim Harra has “strongly rejected” claims made on social media by the Loan Charge All Party Parliamentary Group of cross-party MPs that it is “deliberately misleading” the public about its recent loan scheme-related enforcement activities.

The new CDIO will have several major projects and issues to deal with, including the ongoing debate around the IR35 tax reforms. Ongoing work to extend the IR35 reforms to the private sector has not been well received, and in April 2020, a parliamentary inquiry concluded that the IR35 off-payroll working rules were flawed and had never worked satisfactorily since they were introduced 20 years ago.

The report called for the government to delay the roll-out of the reforms to the private sector, analyse the many problems with the legislation and then revamp it.

HMRC’s new CDIO will also be responsible for Making Tax Digital, the project to replace paper from the tax filing process, and the roll-out of the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

CDS is replacing the old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (Chief) system, and will be able to tackle a much larger number of customs declarations. The roll-out has been delayed several times, and HMRC has been criticised for focusing on upgrading the old Chief system, rather than ensuring that CDS is ready.

The department has now extended the migration timelines for moving from Chief to CDS, and will run both systems in parallel for longer than originally planned.

Applications for the new CDIO role close on 29 May 2020, and interviews will take place towards the end of July.

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