In a celebratory post on the UK’s Government Digital Service blog, Mike Bracken discusses how the HMRC has successfully implemented their digital strategy — which, among other things, pledges to “enhance the systems that provide and support our digital services by building a multi-channel digital tax platform, upon which all new digital services operate.”
The positive effects of this platform are being experienced by UK taxpayers in tangible ways — services have become streamlined, simple and user-friendly. Not only that, the UK tax system itself is benefitting from the Agile development of services and leading the charge toward lightweight, scalable services for every government agency.
From the post:
I’m delighted by the success of these exemplars, but it’s the structural reform of our tax system which they help enable which pleases me most. HMRC has always been the leading Government department for digital transactions. It crossed the rubicon some years ago by working with software vendors to accept transactions through intermediaries. Yet like any large organisation with a hefty legacy and complex policy arrangement – and there really is nothing as complex as our tax code – it runs the risk of codifying this complexity into its operations and software. HMRC naturally fell into this category, feeling a little like a fortress to others in Government.
Now it has begun a new phase of development, centered upon agile development of services. These exemplars have all been built in an agile way, using technologies including Scala, Java, and MongoDB. The multidisciplinary teams made up of technical and business resources depend on massive amounts of user research, and the exemplars have been through several iterations in private and public beta. The organisation is changing: HMRC is sharing code on Github. Mark’s being written about in Wired magazine. This is not the HMRC of old.
With this level of transactions, it is impossible for any Government agency to claim the agile approach does not scale or is unsuited to transactional services.
Read the full post: Not the HMRC of old | UK Government Digital Services blog