Hitu Katira, Head of the Digital Forms Service, HMRC

by Hitu Katira, Head of the Digital Forms Service, HMRC

I’ve always seen technology as a way of bringing people together and breaking down barriers. But it was managing a project to introduce a national direct debit payments service for my then employer – a government department – that really ignited my passion for technology.

It might not sound like an exciting subject but we started with a process that took 6 weeks and turned it into something that took only 3 days from start to finish. How much better is that for the customer? I really felt I had made a difference and on a bigger scale than I imagined I could. Even now when I hear people talk about using the service I feel a sense of pride. I did that.

I’ve since managed all sorts of projects. Starting a new project is always exciting for me – anything is possible and challenges are there to be overcome.

One of my biggest challenges to date was developing and bringing to life Civil Service Jobs. It’s a single place online where you can search and apply for jobs anywhere across the UK Civil Service and central government organisations.

I had a great team around me and am still amazed at what we achieved. It took us just 6 months from the first conversations about what was required to having the new site live. I’m really happy to see people using my site, knowing that this technology helps people find better jobs and get paid more, which makes their lives, and their family’s lives, better. I have even used it myself to apply for jobs.

My current role is Head of the Digital Forms Service in HM Revenue and Customs. Nobody enjoys filling out a form. Especially not a long and complicated one by hand. I’m responsible for replacing paper forms with online services – getting the information that’s needed but making it far easier for the customer.

I lead teams made up of a range of specialists. These include user researchers, business analysts, product managers, content writers, architects, quality assurers and developers. Together, we look at the journey of the current paper form and develop an easier online one, thinking about it from the user’s perspective.

We carry out research with users to get their views and make changes based on their feedback. That doesn’t stop when a form goes live – we carry on improving it based on the feedback we get. There’s always a buzz when we get customer feedback. To date our customer satisfaction score is over 75%, which I’m really proud of. We’re saving our customers money too – more than £10 million a year, and also saving the Department time. And that means we can find even more ways to help our customers.

Technology is everywhere now. When people don’t notice it because it just does what it should then that’s a job well done in my view.

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