The growth of online business across public sector organisations has been substantial in recent years, but perhaps the most rapid expansion has been in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This growth also created the need to move from legacy systems with all the problems this brings. This article explains how this was achieved.
HMRC, the U.K. tax collecting authority, was formed in 2005, following the merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise Departments. The authority exists to ensure money is available to fund the U.K.’s public services and helps families and individuals by providing targeted financial support.
HMRC started to develop its digital delivery channels during the past decade. It became the first customer for the Government Gateway, a system that provides the pan-government building blocks for secure and efficient transactions. As the number of digital services and transactions at HMRC grew, it became a apparent that the interface to the Government Gateway, which is known as DIS, needed to be more resilient and accompanied by more responsive support services.
Software AG, working with partners Fujitsu and Capgemini, replaced the HMRC legacy Microsoft® DIS environment with a far more scalable, resilient and responsive solution. Based on the webMethods suite of technologies, including process intelligence and the Tamino XML server, it has supported the rapid growth of digital service delivery at HMRC since 2005.
Online self-assessment tax filing increased by 250 percent from 2007-2012. A record 9.45 million Self Assessment tax returns were received in 2012 and more than 80 percent were filed online. The system accepted nearly 445,000 online filings in one day. In one hour 37,460 returns were processed. This is more than one every six seconds.
The National Audit Office reported that HMRC online filing had achieved £126 million in efficiency savings.
Helping HMRC achieve its goals
HMRC is committed to making citizens and businesses feel the tax system is simple for them to deal with and applied even-handedly. Being seen as a highly professional and efficient organisation is central to this.
By enabling the digital delivery of services, HMRC has both improved customer service and increased efficiency.
Along with other government departments, HMRC started to develop its digital delivery channels during the past decade. As part of this development it became the first customer for the Government Gateway, which provides the pan-government building blocks for secure and efficient transactions.
As the number of digital services and transactions at HMRC grew, it became apparent that the existing interface to the Government Gateway needed to be both more resilient and accompanied by more responsive support services.
Delivering the right solution
HMRC’s partnership with Software AG began in 2005. Services are provided by Aspire, an innovative transformation contract that is now a model for transformational outsourcing. Aspire stands for Acquiring Strategic Partners for the Inland Revenue contract. Software AG’s solution forms part of what the Aspire contract delivers for HMRC, explained John Gibbon, Fujitsu’s head of eOperations for Aspire.
Fujitsu is also a major partner delivering IT services via the Aspire contract. Software AG has partnered with Fujitsu to provide DIS to Aspire for HMRC since 2005. Working closely together, the two companies have continued to rise to the challenge of the ever-expanding volume of online filing of U.K. tax returns.
“With HMRC’s aggressive growth targets for online filing and the sheer volumes of tax returns now being submitted online, there is no scope for failure,” Gibbon said. “With support provided 24/7 by Software AG, the pressure is taken off Aspire in terms of ensuring that HMRC’s online taxation services are available when customers need them.”
Gibbon added: “Software AG continues to win our business as it provides excellent technical solutions and a 24/7 support service, which are totally aligned to support our customer’s business vision. Software AG has already played a significant role in helping HMRC to realize £126 million in efficiency savings though online filing and remains central to Aspire’s drive to enable digital by default to HMRC.”
The partnership between HMRC, Aspire and Software AG has been so successful that, at the end of 2010, it was renewed for another 5 years to form the bedrock of HMRC’s drive to provide services as “digital by default,” in line with the government Information and Communication Technologies strategy. As part of this renewal, Software AG was able to offer significant efficiency gains to Aspire as well as extended contingency capability.
“The Software AG support offering and the webMethods technology, which are at the heart of DIS, are an important component of Aspire’s provision of robust, secure and efficient online services to HMRC,” Gibbon said.
Software AG is a global leader in Business Process Excellence.