The people have spoken – will HMRC listen?

by admin on November 21, 2007

in General

In the court of public opinion – or at least the one currently being run by the BBC, the fiasco over the catastrophic loss of personal data for 25 million citizens now stands at 4,809 comments. Even the so called A-list bloggers would struggle to get that level of reaction to an event that is bound to have significant repercussions across many government sponsored IT projects.

Mike Krigsman has catalogued some of the recent HMRC disasters. It’s not pretty reading. This time it has struck a nerve with the public. That matters because as one reader says:

I can only echo the sentiments of everyone else. How can we possibly trust this government with anything anymore? The size of this blunder can’t be under-estimated, this is 25 million people we’re talking about, almost half the population!!

Surely no one can have any confidence left in this government and its ability to fulfil its primary obligation, which is to protect the citizens of this country.

Like it or not, we have come to rely on IT in many aspects of our lives. When government gets something wrong as basic as the transmission of data from one department to another, then you have to be concerned about IT governance. In this case, it would appear to count for very little.

This is particularly worrying for professionals who have already endured continuing problems with online filing. Perhaps now is the time for HMRC to step back and evaluate what’s really going on. These kinds of failure in process and quality cannot be allowed to continue ad infinitum.

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Stuart Jones November 21, 2007 at 7:57 am

Brown will no doubt follow the time-honoured New Labour approach on this one:

In ten days it will all be forgotten so don't bother resigning Darling

alastair November 21, 2007 at 1:07 pm

The question no one seems to be asking is why did the NAO want all that personal data? And if it breaches HMRC procedures to supply it like that then presumably NAO have similar procedures – so why did they ask in the first place?

Nigel James November 21, 2007 at 1:35 pm

It is now over 6000 comments. There are far too many questions about security here and this government has no right to try an introduce a security card.

John November 21, 2007 at 2:41 pm

It's worrying when you think they also have access to all the details about our income, tax returns, NI etc etc…

M November 21, 2007 at 7:49 pm

It's when something like this happens that people no longer wonder why some UK citizens don't vote…


Dennis Howlett November 23, 2007 at 1:48 am

@alastair: as I understand it, the NAO did not request all the information HMRC copied onto the missing disks.

alastair November 23, 2007 at 2:50 am

Dennis, the facts are emerging slowly. It appears they asked for more limited information, but even that asked for breached HMRC guidelines. Still not clear who authorised the action.

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