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.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Gerrymandering

GerrymanderingHMRC have been accused of "gerrymandering" a consultation exercise, in order to undermine union opposition to the proposed closure of certain Scottish HMRC offices.

That at least is the view of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

The PCS said that it was "disgusted" at the way staff at Dundee's Sidlaw House office, not affected by the proposals, had been included in an assessment of responses with the result that opposition appeared considerably diluted.

Approximately 70 jobs may be lost from Dundee and Perth.

The consultation process ran from June 11 until August 6, HMRC staff across Scotland were invited to pass comment on the closure proposals.

Sidlaw House workers were told that their jobs were safe.

John Oswald, the local union leader, described the inclusion of Sidlow House staff in the consultation as "underhand and despicable gerrymandering". Their inclusion diluted weight of the responses of affected staff to 27%.

Mr Oswald told the Evening Telegraph:

"This manipulation of figures is designed to undermine our campaign in the worst possible way. Members across Scotland, worried for their jobs, have been using this consultation to show their opposition to closure.

The department must either discount Sidlaw House from the review or reopen the consultation, hold meetings with the staff and actually directly invite them to contribute
."

HMRC trying to manipulate the results of a consultation?

Surely not!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

6 comments:

  1. Ooooooooh yes!!! This smells strongly of yet another attempt at underhand, or maybe even illegal, HMRC conduct. PCS must urgently take legal advice on this and pursue an action with all vigour against HMRC.

    As stated before on this blog, HMRC is a department in utter shambles and in virtual meltdown. I think, Ken, you said you would give them about a year before they finally collapse. Maybe this nasty little episode might bring about "the end" that bit quicker.

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  2. Believe me: as an HMRC worker, I ain't the least bit surprised in this....

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  3. The Poynter Report into the "Datagate" fiasco mentions, among other things: "Morale is low in HMRC and management needs to continue to focus on engaging with staff". I cannot understand Kieran Poynter's use of the word "continue". The fact is HMRC management "have not even started"; indeed they have not the first clue where or how to start... so this is what they do instead - manipulate the figures to bring about false results. How underhand and despicable! And for their next trick HMRC management will prove that black is actually white.

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  4. Lets all petition the Conservatives to separate Revenue and Customs back to what they used to do, and do relatively well. (Gordon could be declared the Second Coming and he still isn't going to win in 14 months time)That way, taxpayers might get a coherent service, travellers might get treated fairly and some serious criminals might get put away.

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  5. ...petition away. Looking at the list of responses, we all (yes I am one as well) appear to be members of HMRC.
    Nothing is going to happen unless the public get behind the FACT that if they (and we) want decent public services then they have to be paid for, but the public (and hence the politicians)don't really give a sh*t, because of the continuing and outdated perception that we are all Sir Humphreys with index linked pensions and eye watering salaries.
    Campaigning needs to go forward to show the taxpayer what they should be getting and what the consequences of crap public services are.

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  6. To be fair, "gerrymandering" is a little strong. Fair enough, if this were an actual poll, in which participants were asked something like "do you agree with the proposals?", the inclusion of the building might have skewed the results, but:

    1) It wasn't a vote. The consultation exercise produced qualitative, not quantitative, data, as participants were invited to make comments, not vote on anything. (You could of course argue that the staff should have been given the chance to vote on the office closures, but I'd speculate that organisations that would do that are pretty thin on the ground!)

    2) The proposals included significantly more people moving into Sidlaw House, presumably involving significant upheaval for it's existing occupants. Would not have been rather harsh for these staff to have been prevented from contributing their opinions? I've no doubt the unions would have had concerns if they had been.

    Now, I know there's a real chance that I'm going to be accused of being management and told that the above is "cr@p" (or similar). Well, I'm not, and if you'd like to claim that one of the above points is incorrect, please let me know which, and why, and I'll be happy to debate it!

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