HMRC chief defends tax agency’s data storage deal with Amazon Web Services

Written by Richard Johnstone on 26 October 2017 in News
News

Agreement means that HMRC ‘has got out of the data business’, MPs told 

The chief executive of HMRC has defended the tax agency’s decision to sign a data storage contract with Amazon Web Services (AWS) after the previous supplier complained the loss of the contract pushed it into bankruptcy.

Jon Thompson told the Public Accounts Committee yesterday that the move from Salford-based cloud services provider DataCentred to AWS had saved it more than 50% and improved its data resilience.

The tax agency has been criticised for the shift as DataCentred went into administration following the loss of the deal, which came despite a pledge to award one-third of government procurement spending to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Asked about the move by PAC committee chair Meg Hillier, Thompson said that “I don’t personally think there’s anything wrong with HMRC contracting with Amazon Web Services, and that is indeed what we’ve done”.

The shift came because the market for cloud storage has moved on for very large businesses into “hyperscale cloud”, he told MPs.


Related content


“We need resilience in how they hold that data for us, and the price reduction was more than 50% for us, so there is a clear value-for-money explanation. We come out of the data business ourselves, we don’t have physical buildings, and we get much more resilience because it can be held in multiple sites, so if the sites go down we don’t lose data, and we don’t lose services to companies.”

He highlighted that HMRC had unbundled its previous £10bn Aspire IT deal with Capgemini, a move which has provided “a range of market opportunities” for smaller IT firms that were not previously available.

“We estimate there are now 100 small and medium-sized companies working with us now who would not have worked with us before because of that enormous deal with Capgemini,” he told MPs.

“We are increasing the amount of business in relation SMEs, but in this particular example, the SME was not successful. You’re looking at the one that has contributed to the loss, rather than the overall increase through the breakup of one £700m-a-year deal.” 

About the author

Richard Johnstone is deputy and online editor of PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World. He tweets as @CSW_DepEd

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

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

Related Articles

Whitehall shared-services implementation requires funding and focus, MPs warn
9 May 2023

Public Accounts Committee warns that lack of support could imperil delivery

DWP, Home Office, MoJ and Defra launch £1bn tender for shared services tech providers
2 June 2023

Departments look to sign joint deal with a software provider and a system integrator

UKCloud collapse caused ‘no unexpected service disruptions or cost to public purse’
30 May 2023

Minister says that all public-sector customers have now moved to alternative provider

ONS seeks new data source on UK firms’ overseas owners
24 May 2023

Statistics agency looks to establish a single unified partnership