UK: Inland Revenue web site woes : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK Government website woes

It is the second technical crisis for the IR within a week

The government's pilot website is experiencing major problems in its drive to get all public services online. The Inland Revenue site, which should have enabled people to file their tax returns online from April this year, has only recently started working after technical difficulties.

The glitches were revealed just days after reports that the department had "lost" millions of tax records from its computer files.

Computer experts say the problems do not bode well for the government's ambition to have all departments accessible electronically within five years.

'First stride'

The Inland Revenue had hoped that 300,000 people would file online this year but so far only 4,000 have been able to do so.

But the website was delayed for three months and only began working after a new software supplier was brought in.

Even now, once the forms have been filed electronically, staff in some regional offices have to print them out and type in the information by hand.

Only 4,000 online forms have been successfully submitted Software experts say the problems show the enormity of the task facing the government.

But Terry Hawes, the Inland Revenue's e-business director, said as the pilot scheme, the department's site was bound to experience teething problems.

"We have taken the first stride and inevitably, that makes us vulnerable to criticism of elements that go wrong - and some things have not gone right," he told the BBC.

"But I think what we've proved is that we can achieve internet transactions successfully in a very difficult area."


The government's plan is that by 2005, the entire population will have access to a computer and all public services will be available electronically through one central internet gateway.

However, Dennis Keeling from the Software Developers' Association expressed doubts over the scheme.

"If the government's e-commerce initiative really takes off, we're going to have a huge volume of traffic, and if all that is going through one internet portal it could easily be brought down and we lose everything," he said.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 22, 2000


I keep waiting for something similar to happen to IRS in this country. But, so far, everything seems to have gone well--refunds on time, etc.

But, we shouldn't get too confident yet. Rumors still abound that IRS is having a lot of trouble integrating all of its complex and varied computer systems.

-- Uncle Fred (, July 23, 2000.

The Brits are having so much trouble because they are trying to jam all these date down a single portal, all at once. That's like trying to ram a barn load of hay down the throat of a giraffe in one fell swoop. The results should be obvious, the kind of affront that would have PETA hauling you into court for cruelty to animals.

-- Wayward (, July 23, 2000.

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