Skills shortage hits tax projects.

It is understood the lack of resources, which will delay several projects, has prompted Revenue programme directors to reduce the chances of systems failures and improve the chances of success on future programmes, including the tax credits programme.

An internal memo by programme directors, said: ‘As we run increasing numbers of complex IT systems, the risk increases of those systems performing less well than expected. The department can reduce that risk by using skilled people to develop and test the systems thoroughly before they go live. But at present there is a shortage of skills to do this’.

Delayed projects will include IT plans to reduce the risk of tax or national insurance losses in insolvencies and the policing of arrangements that allow taxpayers time to pay.

Despite the skills shortages on the government’s flagship online agency, the Cabinet Office played down fears over plans to launch all services online by 2005. A spokesman said: ‘We will continue to work closely to develop strategies in meeting the 2005 targets’.

Analysis, page 11

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