Moorhouse with HMRC

Change and Transformation in the Public Sector


The public rely on HMRC to ensure our public services receive the funds they need to function. It is because of this that HMRC received a significant settlement in SR21, and establishing a dedicated Transformation Group. It has the responsibility to align its transformation efforts to deliver a modern, digital tax system, replace costly and inflexible legacy IT, and establish effective border operations in line with UK transition priorities.

The purpose of HMRC’s transformation portfolio is to enable its strategic, long-term aims; collecting taxes effectively and paying out financial support to those most in need, making it easy for individuals and businesses to pay, whilst making it difficult for criminals or fraudsters to break the rules. HMRC needed support in designing and delivering an enhanced portfolio management capability to:

  • Reinvigorate their portfolio management function as a value-driven function that would positively influence delivery and investment decisions
  • Reshape and rebalance their portfolio to deliver their strategy
  • Establish controls and governance to bring consistency to 30 programmes and 200+ projects
  • Create an enduring and sustainable Civil Service capability to continue to guide and commission change with new policies and future customer needs.

Moorhouse with delivery partner IBM, operating as the NorthStar partnership, were engaged as embedded partners to ensure that one of the largest portfolios across Whitehall was set up for success. NorthStar set out a three-step approach to achieve HMRC’s goals over 18-months:

  1. Mobilise: We provided immediate senior leadership capability and capacity to understand the existing maturity of the portfolio management function and its wider long term. Through this work we established a vision for the future best-in-class portfolio management function.
  2. Deliver: We led the portfolio management change and then day to day delivery, ensuring alignment with key strategic aims.
  3. Sustain: We supported HMRC recruitment and led development of in-house HMRC capability to ensure that portfolio management continues to be effective when the partnership ends.


Originally forecasting a significant overspend across the portfolio, this became an overall underspend. This was achieved through improved management controls, increased capability and clarity of purpose, improving delivery efficiency. This ultimately meant that public money could be prioritised to the strategic initiatives that drive the best value. Improved insight and decision-making capability contributed to those savings. HMRC have also been able to deliver transformation at pace and have streamlined their processes, freeing up capacity and reducing delivery roadblocks.

The public and businesses will continue to feel the effects of HMRC’s transformation work for years to come. Programmes such as Making Tax Digital are almost unimaginable in their scale; the systems and controls that have been put in place now will make sure that the modernisation of the tax system is achievable.

In setting out one of the most ambitious programmes of transformation in UK Government, HMRC have set a blueprint for others to follow, and made use of Consultancy to create an enduring and sustainable legacy.

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