The government has opened a digital delivery centre in Telford as part of an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) strategy to create more digital services for citizens and businesses.
The centre was set up in partnership with Capgemini, which supplies software to HMRC, and is the fifth of its kind in the UK joining others in Manchester, Newcastle, Shipley and London.
An HMRC spokesman told V3 that Telford was chosen for the new digital delivery centre owing to the existing presence of HMRC and Capgemini offices, thereby providing easy access to local expertise and digital skills.
The centre will offer 200 jobs and help remove concerns that the potential end of supplier contracts between HMRC, Capgemini and Fujitsu could affect the jobs of 3,000 IT professionals employed by the organisations in the area.
David Gauke, financial secretary to the Treasury, explained that the centre secures jobs in the Telford area and will accelerate HMRC's digital overhaul.
"We want to make tax easier to understand and simpler to engage with. That's why we're introducing digital tax accounts for tens of millions of taxpayers and investing in HMRC's digital transformation," he said.
The Telford centre will focus on creating and improving online services for HMRC as part of a wider strategy to reduce the department's use of paper by offering more digital services that provide access to online tax forms.
The spokesman noted that HMRC uses digital ‘iforms' for different tax services that allow people to access and complete tax documents, such as self-assessment and inheritance tax forms, though a web browser, but then requires them to fill out and post a paper equivalent.
A major part of HMRC's digital strategy is the opening up and release of APIs for its services, so that third-party providers of tax software can connect their products to HMRC's digital systems.
The goal is to allow businesses to use tax software of their choice rather than HMRC and government-owned platforms, yet still connect to the services provided by the department.
Mark Dearnley, HMRC's chief digital and information officer, explained that the API strategy aims to encourage more innovation in the tax software market.
"Our vision is to provide software developers with better and richer APIs that will enable them to innovate and bring more sophisticated software products to the market," he said.
The digital transformation agenda is being driven across government departments by the Government Digital Services (GDS), which has government-as-platform ambitions to introduce common components into the creation of digital public services.
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