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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.
Thursday, 1 May 2008
The Joy of Discipline
It seems that some people in HMRC are a little slow on the uptake, when it comes to data security issues.
You would have thought that following last year's datagate scandal, when HMRC lost the personal records of 25 million taxpayers, that things would have "sharpened" up a bit in HMRCland.
Indeed, HMRC have been playing the line that this was a one off cock up.
It appears that misuse of personal data is part of the culture of HMRC.
Over 600 staff at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been disciplined for accessing personal or sensitive data.
Treasury Financial Secretary Jane Kennedy said that there were 238 people disciplined in 2005, 180 in 2006, and 192 in 2007. In many cases the penalty for staff misusing data was dismissal.
Ms Kennedy is operating under the illusion that this unwarranted intrusion and misuse of people's private data is OK. She believes that the figures showed "the strength of HMRC's disciplinary procedures".
Ms Kennedy said HMRC has a "strict policy forbidding staff to access customer records unless they have a legitimate business need.
Breaches of this policy are taken seriously and any breach will result in the commencement of disciplinary proceedings.
Each case is treated on its merits but in many cases the disciplinary penalty for breach in dismissal."
Therefore please answer this question, given that the penalties are so severe and the rule is well known, why are HMRC staff (albeit it a minority) still misusing the data?
Tax does have to be taxing.
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