EXCL: Digital chief on why HMRC must 'embrace AI and machine learning'

Written by Sam Trendall on 20 May 2019 in News

CDIO Jacky Wright tells PublicTechnology that department wants to focus on developing its use of artificial intelligence tools

Developing its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will be a major focus for HM Revenue and Customs in the coming months and years, according to the department’s chief digital and information officer Jacky Wright.

In the last few years, HMRC’s Automation Delivery Centre has steadily grown the department’s use of robotics and process automation. A year ago, the ADC processed its 10 millionth automated transaction.

Wright (pictured above) told PublicTechnology that, as this automation work continues, attention is now also beginning to turn towards accelerating HMRC’s use of other emerging technologies. 

“I think we need to focus more on AI and machine learning and maturing that,” she said. “Because that will unleash the power of the data we have… so we have more insight, and we're able to anticipate the types of things we need to think about: better citizen-centric services to collect taxes and that fund the public services that we need to provide. And that's not just within HMRC, but anywhere in government.”

Related content

The CDIO said that the tax agency is already making use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies – particularly in its work assessing risk and compliance.

“[Those technologies] are transforming the problems we're able to solve, and how quickly we solve them,” Wright said. “Understanding risk and compliance hinges on our ability to understand patterns. And, in order to do that, we have to embrace AI, machine learning and deep learning. Risking is an area where we are embracing them, and we are really looking… to understand how we can develop more.”

Enabling employees throughout the department to better understand how new technology can be used in their working lives will help drive uptake, Wright believes.

“We're looking at how we roll out AI awareness training across the organisation, so everybody can think about how you can use it and how you apply in your everyday work,” she said. “And that will have a ripple effect in terms of how fast we embrace it.” 

Wright added: “But [that will be] in a balanced way – because we also have to understand the ethics, the security and all of those things that come with embracing new technology and new services.”


Look out next month for a full write-up of our interview with the HMRC CDIO, including lots of insights into the department’s ongoing transformation, the need to build digital skills across the civil service, and how HMRC’s post is evolving its supplier relationships in the wake of the Aspire contract. The interview will be published both on PublicTechnology and in the next edition of our sister title Civil Service World.



About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page




Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

How can local government get it right on shared services?
5 June 2020

Experts from councils and industry partners discuss the key benefits and challenges to consider if local authorities are to reap the rewards of sharing services

Government declines to set date for contact-tracing app
8 July 2020

Head of Test and Trace programme Baroness Harding says she does not want to specify a timeframe as projects often do not ‘run in a smooth way’

How big is the UK’s cyber skills gap?
7 July 2020

A major government-commissioned study found that about half of UK organisations are lacking basic security skills. PublicTechnology talks to the researchers behind it to find out where...

Related Sponsored Articles

Interview: CyberArk EMEA chief on how government has become a security leader
29 May 2020

PublicTechnology talks to Rich Turner about why organisations need to adopt a ‘risk-based approach’ to security – but first make sure they get the basics right

Accelerating sustainability in the age of disruption
21 May 2020

HPE shows why organisations are increasingly seeking to understand and consider the environmental impacts of their IT purchasing decisions