Dame Lesley Strathie, former CEO and permanent secretary at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has died following a battle with cancer.
She was head of HMRC during its difficult introduction of a new PAYE IT system, called the National Insurance and PAYE Service (NPS), and last year provided an explanation that summarised what went wrong with the implementation.
Dame Lesley stood down as chief executive in November 2011, after being diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year. She passed away on 14 January 2012.
Dame Lesley joined HMRC in November 2008, and was previously chief executive at Jobcentre Plus, and held roles at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Employment.
HMRC CIO Phil Pavitt said, "I am very sad to hear that Lesley has died. She was an incredible role model and true friend. Lesley will be greatly missed by me and her colleagues in HMRC".
Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax, said: "I am deeply saddened by the news of Lesley's death. "She defended HMRC, often in the face of strong criticism, but always set herself high standards and expected the same of others."
She suggested the difficulties arose due to factors such as the programme team not communicating effectively with the potential business users of the new system and poor data quality in the old databases.
Furthermore, the system that was finally delivered met the original requirements set out in 2003, but did not reflect the 400 changes that were needed by 2009, the actual go-live date.