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Digital Relationship Management – A new era in 3rd party software collaboration

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“the voice of developers inside HMRC, the voice of HMRC to developers”

Louise Tarpy and a male and female colleague stand with the display panels they take with them to exhibitionsI’m Louise Tarpy, HMRC’s Digital Relationship Lead in the new Digital Relationship Management team. Welcome to my first ever blog in which I’ll be introducing our new Digital Relationship Management team and explaining where it fits in delivering HMRC’s digital future. Hopefully, this will be of particular interest if you are a software developer.

Politely referred to as an HMRC lifer, I joined what was the Inland Revenue in 1987. Rick Astley was Number 1, people thought nothing of smoking next to huge piles of cheques, we shared one computer between four and the internet was yet to be invented. Impossible then, for 17 year old me, to envisage a future self whose entire world would revolve around something called digital. And yet, here I am!

The API circle of life

HMRC’s transformational agenda has a proactive approach to third party software development. It’s about working in partnership with the tax and business software industry to encourage the development of ‘best in class’ products, software that’s personalised to user needs and enables our mutual customers to help close the UK tax gap by being tax compliant.

Our Third Party Software and API Strategy maps out our vision to provide software developers and other third parties, with high-quality, rich APIs that facilitate the production of innovative, personalised, and more sophisticated software products to the market.

We’ve created three teams to enable that strategy and support developers and third parties on their API journey. Each team has a well-defined, yet complementary, purpose.

An illustration of the API Circle of Life
API Circle of Life

For the Digital Relationship Management Team think customer relations for product development. Our role is to foster and grow long-term, collaborative relationships with the industry. We’ll get to know you, your products, your structure, your delivery schedules and your strategies. We’ll also listen to your suggestions and feedback on our APIs and wider digital transformation plans, and feed those back to internal HMRC stakeholders. In short we’re the voice of developers inside HMRC and the voice of HMRC to developers.

The two other teams which make up the circle are:

Application Programme Interface (API) Platform Team: In order to facilitate our vision and provide third parties with secure and stable access to HMRC’s APIs we’ve built our own platform, the API Developer Hub. Here you can test your application in a sandbox (test) environment before moving your application into our live production environment. My colleague, Richard Baines, and his team are responsible for the provision and welfare of the platform, while Lisa Barnett and her team provide the Developer Hub services that reside on it. To find out more see Richard’s recent blog.

Software Developer Support Team (SDST): You may already be familiar with SDST, headed up by Dennis Dawkins. The team have a long-established history in providing crucial technical support to developers throughout product development and delivery. They provide service support models tailored to specific consumer needs, and their customers include commercial software vendors, other government departments and financial institutions.

The creation of a Digital Relationship Management team doesn’t change this. SDST remain first-tier operational and technical support for product development. To find out more see contact SDST pages on GOV.UK.

Regardless of which team you initially make contact with, the service you get is the same. All third party API consumers complete our circle.

And it’s not just developers these days

Say software development and it’s natural to think software developer but our API strategy is broadening the scope of that assumption. We’re seeing increasing approaches from banks, accountancy firms and fintechs interested in consuming our APIs for a variety of innovative reasons. Interest has grown at such a rate we’ve recently appointed a Digital Relationship Lead dedicated to the financial sector, Melanie Evans.

Your feedback is valuable

As a new team it’s important we get your feedback, so all of our email signatures link to a short questionnaire and quarterly we issue a longer version. These don’t take long to answer but the results are invaluable to us so, if you’re in contact with us, we’d really appreciate you taking a few moments to complete our surveys . Your feedback will help us to adapt and grow the service you need.

Digital Relationship Management on the road

We’re attending a number of events over the next few weeks with our Making Tax Digital colleagues. If you’re visiting any of the events below, please pop over and say ‘hello’. We don’t bite (honestly!) and you might just learn something useful.

15 May, BASDA Summit

23 – 24 May, Accountex (London)

7 – 8 June, AAT conference (Windsor)

2017 was Digital Relationship Management’s launch year. Now that the building blocks are in place, 2018 is set to be the year it really makes its mark!

Louise Tarpy, Digital Relationship Lead

You can contact us by emailing  or leave a comment on this blog

2018 UK IT Industry Awards Highly Commended winners logo for IT Team of the Year

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