HMRC to stop or delay transformation projects to ensure customs system is ready for Brexit

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) plans to cease or delay various its transformation programmes to make sure it has the potential and capability to finish its new Customs Declaration Services (CDS) challenge in time for Brexit.

CDS is meant to interchange the present Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (Chief) system for dealing with freight from outdoors the European Union (EU). After Brexit, HMRC is anticipating to see a rise in customs declarations from the present 60 million a 12 months to 255 million, which Chief can not deal with.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) expressed considerations in January 2018 that HMRC was dangerously overstretched by a mixture of 15 main transformation programmes and the uncertainty round necessities to replace methods for the UK leaving the EU.

“What was already a precarious high-wire act is now being battered by the winds of Brexit, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” mentioned committee chair Meg Hillier on the time.

HMRC chief govt Jon Thompson subsequently wrote to Hillier, and in his letter, printed by PAC final week, he confirmed there might be modifications to different key initiatives.

“As discussed at the last Public Accounts Committee hearing in October 2017, HMRC was to review the entirety of our transformation programme, including the need to accommodate Brexit-related projects and programmes. That review was completed in January 2018,” mentioned Thompson within the letter.

“At this stage, I can say we have proposed a number of projects which should stop or not start, and a number which should be stretched out over a longer timescale,” he mentioned. “I hope we can provide further transparency of the detail of this in due course. Our assessment is that if these changes are agreed then the resultant portfolio is deliverable, with appropriate level of risk. Also, that we have the capacity and capability to deliver it, or can obtain those capabilities in an appropriate timescale.”

When requested by Computer Weekly for additional particulars of which programmes it plans to cease or delay on account of its evaluation, HMRC mentioned, “We do not have any further information to give at this time on our reprioritisation, timescales or which projects we may be delaying” past the main points in Thompson’s letter.

HMRC intends to start phasing in CDS in August, whereas working the previous Chief system alongside it, and is because of be absolutely rolled out by early 2019.

Thompson mentioned in his letter that the primary section of testing for CDS was accomplished in January, with a second section because of full this month. End-to-end efficiency testing will then happen, till stay implementation begins in July.

“This testing will continue after July to test how each phase of migration from Chief to CDS is performing, leading up to full service deployment in January 2019. This work is highly complex and is a key focus for CDS delivery,” he mentioned.

HMRC already had plans to interchange the 25-year-old Chief system when the nation voted to go away the EU. However, with Brexit approaching, CDS has develop into an more and more vital a part of the UK’s potential to deal with the large improve in customs transactions anticipated as soon as the UK leaves the EU Customs Union.

Concerns had been mounting that the system gained’t be prepared for – or in a position to deal with – the quantity of transactions wanted when the UK leaves the EU.

Confidence in CDS misplaced

In March 2017, the Treasury Committee mentioned it had misplaced confidence within the profitable implementation of CDS, and in July 2017, the National Audit Office warned there was “still a significant amount of work to complete”, which meant CDS may not be prepared in time for the UK’s exit from the EU on 29 March 2019.

In September 2017, nevertheless, the challenge reached the midway level after making important progress.

Thompson instructed the PAC assembly in October that he was assured CDS was on monitor, however mentioned there have been “no guarantees on technology projects”.

“We can be reasonably confident, but we need to be transparent with you. There are four significant risks to this programme, and any one of those could either delay the project or, worst case scenario, CDS wouldn’t be ready,” he mentioned on the time.

“If we don’t manage those risks, this will either get delayed or go off track. It’s currently going well, but I will never give you a guarantee any IT system is going work until after [go-live].”

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Publish Date: 2018-04-16 12:45:00

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