THE Government has launched a recruitment drive for 50 skilled staff at a new North-East digital tax centre of excellence. 

The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) centre in Longbenton, Newcastle, will be the first of its kind in the UK, and reflects the growing trend for people and businesses to manage their tax affairs online.

The new civil service jobs range from product managers, interaction designers and user researchers to technical architects and software developers.  

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The first tranche of vacancies, which will be open to both existing HMRC staff and external candidates, will be advertised from January 27. A further 30 existing HMRC staff will also move to the centre.

HMRC plans to open another digital centre, focusing on digital analytics, later in the year although it has not yet announced where this will be located, but it will not be in the North-East, a spokesperson confirmed. 

Mark Dearnley, HMRC’s chief digital and information officer, said:

“This is the start of our ambitious programme to transform HMRC’s online and digital services.

“The Digital Centres will foster a culture of innovation not seen across government before so that we can continually find new ways of supporting customers.

“This recruitment is the first step on our journey to offer a digital service that allows our customers to service their own needs online and reduces the dependence on paper services.”

Mike Bracken, Executive Director of Digital for the UK Government, said:

“Starting with the needs of users has led to a radical shift in the way we build and provide government services. Digital by default will make tax simpler, clearer and faster for users, and bring new skills and ways of working into HMRC.

"The department’s exemplar digital services will go live by 2014, and Government Digital Service will be working closely with HMRC to develop its digital talent in the North-East and throughout the UK.”