Today 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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