HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
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, 14 August 2008

From The Coal Face

From The Coal FaceToday I would like let HMRC staff (let us not forget that they are taxpayers as well) do the talking about the reality of working for HMRC, I would especially like to give prominence to a comment made by an HMRC employee relating to my article "Morale Here is Not High".

The comment "somewhat" undercuts, and neatly shreds, the attempt by "nearly man" Hartnett to present a positive spin about life in HMRC.

I would be very pleased to receive more comments from HMRC staff.

"Morale here is not high and that's because we are in the middle of a huge change programme."

Er, no. Morale is 'not high' (or as we like to refer to it in plain English - low) because the whole merger has been quite astoundingly mishandled. Yes, it was a bad idea from the very beginning (thanks for that, Gordon), but the way that senior management have run this is staggeringly bad. If you could only see some of the details of the Departmental 'hotseat' where us plebs can put our questions to senior management. It's a fascinating exercise in bullet-dodging, fact-dodging and, indeed, answer-dodging. We've watched these two once-proud departments get pissed away all in the name of saving a few shekels. So, yes, you could say that morale is pretty bloody low.

"Our customers don't really write to us anymore or come into our offices and we are changing."

There are thousands upon thousands of unopened letters piling up in a variety of offices all over the country. Hartnett is clearly a buffoon to suggest that people don't write to us. Oh, and the reason that nobody comes into our offices is because most of them are being closed down! Try finding your local Enquiry Centre - it probably isn't there anymore. Instead, it's been centralised miles away from where you can reasonably visit it. If you do manage to make the journey there, they'll just point you in the direction of a telephone on the wall so you can speak to somebody with unsatisfactory training, an unwieldy, usually broken, computer system, and a sheet of obsolete phone numbers.

"It's a difficult world for 83,000 full-time staff to be thrilled with life."

I find that last part to be, frankly, insulting. Few people in this world are 'thrilled' to go into work, you patronising bastard. I don't expect to wake up in the morning and leap out of bed, clapping my hands in anticipation of another glorious day at HMRC. I would, however, like to wake up and not immediately be hit by the sapping realisation that when I get into the office I'm going to have to deal with piss-poor management and inept decision-making as someone in a shiny office in London, trousering a nice fat performance-bonus, tells me that I'm going to have to wait six months for my below-inflation pay rise simply because the Treasury can't get its arse in gear.

So, yes, Mr Hartnett, we're not exactly happy at the moment, and the reason for that is we've seen a succession of useless Chairmen wander through HMRC, each less capable than the last, picking up gongs and cash payouts, and not making a scrap of difference to the festering pile of shite that is HMRC

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. "Yes, it was a bad idea from the very beginning"

    Like the earlier merger between Inland Revenue and the Contributions Agency it might have been a good idea if the purpose had been convergence of rules and saving money by vastly pruning the staff.

    Did either happen? Of course not. We still have entirely different rules for NI, income tax and VAT, quite unecessarily so in some cases. The purpose of tax rules are to:-

    a) Complicate the issues so that nobody twigs the enormous amounts they pay.

    b) Employ a lot of unecessary civil servants.

  2. As an HMRC employee, I couldn't have put that earlier comment better myself.

    The management style in HMRC by these dickheads is 'follow, not lead'....

  3. You should see the in-house publications issued to the staff,full of smiling faces and positve spin on ever thing under the sun,every thing is rosey but we all know it's anything like that.
    Offices are closing morale is plummeting faster than a sinking weight,post is being shifted around the UK in the vain attempt to meet targets my office has not worked it's own post for weeks we have been dealing with other offices works backlogs, chaos reigns.
    But the office closures carry on and the madness in depleting staff continues

  4. ...yes and staff grievances are increasing at an exponential rate. I hear that the PCS are inundated with requests from bullied staff seeking assistance with formal grievances against management. HMRC is a very sick organisation indeed. Believe it or not but the former C&E department was fairly well organised and worked reasonably well... that was until the so-called merger with IR. Actually it's an IR takeover. We now have former IR managers managing C&E work such as VAT. It's now a complete and utter farking mess. This place actually worked fairly well... that was until the IR managers came in with their size 10 jackboots and trashed the place.

  5. If only Gordon Brown would read this column... then again pigs might fly!!!

  6. My advice to all HMRC colleagues is to download from Intranet the grievance stencil (opens in Word) complete, sign and fire them into management. Don't pull your punches chaps and chapettes... the more grievances you raise the more the powers-that-be will get the message that things will have to change. If I were a manager receiving a daily deluge of grievances from my staff it would certainly force my hand.

  7. Just think, with all those grievances gumming up the works the managers won't have any time left to dream up any more pointless, self-serving spreadsheets.

  8. "My advice to all HMRC colleagues is to download from Intranet the grievance stencil"

    Excellent advice.....I wonder why this is the first I have ever heard of such a "stencil"? Our brilliant caring management has kept it's existence not so much a closely guarded secret as a complete non entity.

    I suspect that the first person to fill this stencil in will suddenly find him/herself under investiagtion for some sort of heinous crime as looking at the internet outside of their lunch hour, or, horror of horrors, overclaining their travel claim by 10p. The IR politburo will then whisk them off to a ten year sentence in the gulag.

    never mind, at least it will give some bright senior manager the chance to set up a new spreadsheet for us all to fill in.