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Appointment signals aim for robust system

Cybersecurity expert to chair Revenue Scotland

Keith Nicholson An expert in cybersecurity has been appointed chairman of Scotland’s new taxation agency.

Keith Nicholson will help steer Revenue Scotland which formally becomes a non-ministerial department tomorrow.

Other board appointments include John Whiting, tax director of the UK’s Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) and a regular television and radio pundit.

Mr Nicholson is an internationally recognised scientist and company director with more than 30 years’ experience in statistical analysis and data modelling.

His appointment will be seen as a clear signal of the government’s intent to ensure its system is robust and able to withstand potential attack.

Before moving full time into consultancy he was a professor working on environmental and energy systems and held positions in universities in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Denmark and Scotland.

He currently runs an independent consultancy providing strategic advisory services in cyber security, IT and telecommunications technology.

John Swinney, finance secretary, said: “Keith’s business and specialist background in transactional websites, cyber security and technology will be of particular value to Revenue Scotland.”

The government was criticised by Audit Scotland earlier this year over delays in setting up Revenue Scotland. But in a statement issued today the government said progress was being made to ensure it would be ready for April with 21 staff either in post or having accepted appointment.

Mr Swinney said: “Work on the IT system is progressing, with external user testing set to start. In addition to this, registration for the tax return portal will be available from February, allowing users the opportunity to set up and familiarise themselves with the system in advance of completing returns from 1 April.

“I welcome the support from key stakeholders for the open and inclusive approach Revenue Scotland has taken to giving information on the new taxes, which will continue with a series of roadshow events being held across the country for solicitors dealing with the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in the coming months. This will also give stakeholders the opportunity to discuss the Guidance being drafted on LBTT and the Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT).”

The new board members are:

Dr Keith Nicholson

Dr Nicholson is an internationally recognised scientist and award-winning company director with more than 30 years’ experience in statistical analysis and data modelling. Before moving full time into consultancy he was a professor working on environmental and energy systems and held positions in universities in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Hungary and Scotland.

He currently runs an independent consultancy providing strategic advisory services in cyber security, IT and telecommunications technology. Keith’s business and specialist background in transactional websites, cyber security and technology will be of particular value to Revenue Scotland.

John Whiting OBE

John Whiting is the Tax Director of the UK’s Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), a role he has held since the OTS was established in 2010; he has also been a non-executive director of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) since April 2013. In addition to his part-time OTS position, he was until 2013, the first Tax Policy Director of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). He was a member of the High Level Implementation Group and is now a member of the Deputy First Minister’s Tax Consultation Forum. He has also served as a member of the first-tier Tax Tribunal. John was awarded the OBE in 2008 for services to the tax profession.

Jane Ryder OBE

Jane Ryder is qualified as a solicitor in England and Scotland and for 12 years was a partner in Boyd Jameson WS, in Edinburgh. She now specialises in corporate governance and regulation across the public, private and third sectors. From 2002- 2011 she was the first Chief Executive of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) where she successfully established the new regime for the regulation of charities in Scotland . Her current public appointments include board member of the Marine Management Organisation and Deputy Chair of the UK wide Seafish Industry Authority as well as chair of the charity Arts and Business Scotland.

Lynn Bradley

Lynn Bradley is an accountant with more than 30 years’ experience of working in the Scottish public and private sectors. She was formerly the Head of Finance for West Dunbartonshire Council, where her responsibilities included local tax collection. More recently, she was Director of Corporate Programmes & Performance with Audit Scotland. She is a former chair of CIPFA in Scotland and a former chair of the Local Authority Accounts Scotland Advisory Committee. She is currently a University teacher in the Adam Smith Business School at Glasgow University, where she specialises in audit, risk and control. Lynn is married with a young family.

Ian Tait

Ian Tait is Director of Investment and Hydro Nation at the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (the Commission). He is a regulatory specialist and has advised the Scottish Government on the development of regulatory structures. Ian has extensive experience of data analysis using high-level metrics in order to monitor performance and drive improvements for customers and the environment. His previous posts include Strategic Planning Manager and Transmission System Manager at Scottish and Southern Energy (formerly Scottish Hydro-Electric).

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