I understand that in the aftermath of HMRC's Datagate scandal last year, when HMRC lost the personal details of 25 million taxpayers, HMRC management have instructed all HMRC staff to remove customer correspondence from desks and lock it in a secure drawer/cupboard when they leave the office.
I am not quite sure how that will prevent another Datagate. However, it is a good security measure.
Unfortunately, there is one problem.
A large number of staff in number of offices do not have lockable drawers.
Fair enough, buy some locks then!
Unfortunately, HMRC cannot afford to do that.
Therefore staff have been instructed in at least one office to remove all customer correspondence from their desks when they leave the office, and put it in a large unlocked cabinet!!
A brilliant solution is it not?
Not only does the correspondence remain unlocked, but it is helpfully gathered together in one place so that anyone (eg cleaners, journalists working under cover etc) wishing to have look can do so with ease.
Quite why the powers that be think that this is more secure is beyond me.
A cynic might suggest that the "clear desk" policy has nothing to do with security, but is in fact a means of making HMRC processes seem more "outsource friendly".
Clear desks, in theory, mean easy and simple processes!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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