In new evidence submitted today, Revenue Business and Management Services director John Yard told the Commons’ Treasury subcommittee that the Gateway was still expected to go live early this year, but with limited access to all the services that might run on it.
Challenged over progress with the project, following reports that it had been in trouble, Yard reassured MPs that it would reach its targets.
And in a memorandum to the committee, Customs said the Gateway would enable it and Inland Revenue to offer separate systems in a joined-up manner’ and added ‘the Gateway development is under way and the Revenue departments will be the first to use this cross- government facility.’
The memo concluded by saying: ‘The Inland Revenue is now leading the project management of the implementation phase and Customs have provided two IT specialists to work as part of the joint project team.’
The memo was a response to the committee’s concern that Customs and Revenue may find it difficult to work together after each department’s decision to employ different IT consultants to supply IT services, with Customs selecting IT company Siemens and the Revenue choosing IT consultants EDS.
In a separate paper presented to the committee, the Tax Faculty of the English and Welsh ICA called for ‘a much more consistent’ approach to the internet from both the Revenue and Customs.
It complained the two websites presented information in different ways and called for Customs to model itself on the ‘much better’ Revenue site, leading to an eventual merged site.
The ICA also called for an automatic e-mail service detailing new information added to the sites – as is already available from the Treasury website.
Work on the Gateway is being supported by a £30m, two-year budget funded from chancellor Gordon Brown’s Capital Modernisation Fund and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2005
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