HMRC splashes £150m on digital skills and launches academy training programme

HMRC

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has sharply increased its IT staffing budget, rising to a total of £150m – almost double the pre-pandemic figure, according to official data.

The findings, obtained under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by the Parliament Street think tank, revealed that a total of £152,871,499 was spent on 4,032 IT staff in the most recent financial year ending March 2023. This was a 91 per cent increase on 2019’s figure of £79,916,209 where only 2,203 staff were in post.

The FOI also revealed that HMRC has launched several new initiatives within its IT department, the Chief Digital and Information Office (CDIO) recently. HMRC said that around 2,000 learning requests for courses and training are submitted annually by staff, with some staff attending multiple programmes.

HMRC also said that it has developed 15 academies for CDIO that deliver professional learning for specific technical roles such as data scientists or for functions and technologies like cloud computing. The FOI response stated: “The academies use a blended approach of externally and internally developed learning content. They are led by internal subject matter experts who ensure we are aligned to industry standards and using the best learning opportunities for our people.”

Commenting on the findings, James Campanini, CEO, VeUP said: “It’s encouraging to see HMRC investing in IT skills and cloud support, areas which will enable it to vastly improve public services and reduce costs in the long-term. By embracing cloud, organisations of all sizes can better manage large volumes of data, optimise costs, and dramatically improve their performance.”

Tech expert Joanna Reynolds, MD, Bordeaux & Burgundy added, “Enhancing digital skills is crucial for creating a now and future-ready workforce. HMRC’s new academy programme is an excellent example of sharing knowledge and expertise throughout their organisation. By prioritising investment in tech skills, we can position the UK as a centre for Private Equity and Venture Capital investment and a hub for the development of tomorrow’s most innovative technology companies. Skills such as these are a key differentiator, and forward-thinking organisations will appreciate technology’s value and use it accordingly.”