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Exclusive: HMRC set to save £16m by standardising computers, tablets and smartphones

28 Jan 2013
Cloud computing use is a major government IT strategy

HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC) has revealed it expects to save £16m over the next five years by standardising end-user devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones, V3 has learned.

In an exclusive interview with V3, HMRC IT director and acting chief information officer Mark Hall, said his department had successfully completed the trial of the government's device standardisation programme, which is now set to be rolled out across all government departments.

The programme, revealed in February 2012, will force departments to standardise end-user devices being provided to staff in an attempt to save the whole public sector around £500m.

Hall described how the programme is aimed at giving civil servants more choice in the devices they use, while limiting the overall number of devices government IT departments have to support.

"The whole agenda is about using a wider range of devices in the government, but creating a standard way to configure each type of device," said Hall.

"So if [a government IT department] wanted to use Brand A type of device in a government setting, they know how to set it up.

Hall refused to divulge any particular devices that will be approved, but did say that some Windows 8 devices were being tested at present.

"We are looking at devices [with Windows 8] but we've got no plans to necessarily move there. We're doing an analysis now on what's the best option," he said."

Hall was also cautious when it came to labelling the HMRC programme as a "bring-you-own-device" (BYOD) scheme as all the devices civil servants will use for work will be government-procured.

"I wouldn't go as far as BYOD yet. There are challenges around letting people share their work and personal devices. Also, when you look at our purchasing power of devices, there are cases when the government can procure devices much cheaper than consumers can," said Hall.

"Most of the cost in a BYOD is not the device itself but supporting it. BYOD is just not a huge area of focus for us at the moment."

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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