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, 27 April 2009

"Efficiency" Savings

SavingsThere was a rather interesting take on the effectiveness and value of the "efficiency" savings being implemented by government organs, such as HMRC, in yesterday's Guardian.

In effect the Guardian reasons that costs are not being saved, but are being swept under the carpet and being passed on to others attempt to clean up the less left by a newly "efficient" and "cost effective" government organ:

"Look at the "cost savings" made at the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs. Both these flagships of public-sector reform have been subject to top-down makeovers along approved factory lines. Dumbed-down "front offices" sort and feed incoming cases to specialised processing sections in the "back office" in the belief that these mass-production techniques will cut the unit cost of transactions and harvest economies of scale.

Even in manufacturing, economies of scale lost their grail-like allure when the Japanese discovered how to make small quantities of different, high-quality goods cheaply. In services the case is at best unproven (banks, anyone?), and so far the successes in shared services are few and far between. But even if they do make transactions cheaper, that's irrelevant if from the citizen's point of view the service is worse, requiring more transactions to put right. And it takes no account of the disbenefits of the efficiency measures elsewhere in the system.

Thus the HMRC and DWP cost savings recorded in official figures reappear, with interest, in the workloads of harassed local councils, housing associations, police, courts and advice agencies. They have to pick up the pieces left by the failure of HMRC and DWP's demoralised staff and fragmented processes to provide an acceptable (rather than cheap) tax and benefit service.

Much of the work of the UK's voluntary advice organisations now consists of dealing with mistakes affecting the most vulnerable in society perpetrated by New Labour's efficiency flagships

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. one of the most amusing things to read was how far these "efficiency savings" are expected to go.

    The last years imposed pay 'deal' was supposed to lead to better things this year. In effect any efficiency savings would be used to fund increased wages etc, thus giving those lazy civil servants an incentive to cut costs and increasing the wage bill without it actaully costing anything (eh?)

    Fast forward to this years budget and in the leaks leading up to it- (sorry that should have read 'days') there was a report on the BBC website that the chancellor expected to be able to afford increased borrowing due to the efficiencies being made in the civil service.

    How far are these savings expected to go?
    I know- abolish the civil service and then we'll have enough money to get out of this

  2. Now here is an interesting take on efficiency savings. Today at HMRC an announcement was made, confirming that the workforce change programme did not have enough money to close the Farnham office. Coincedently the Farnham office is one of those unfortunate enough to be selected for closure, under the guise of saving the department money. The closure was originally supposed to happen by April 2010, but now the earliest it can happen is April 2011. Strange! The department now no longer has enough money to close an office which was supposed to save the department money. Am I to conclude that it would cost more money to close an office, rather than keeping it open. I think the left hand doesnt know what the right is doing. HMRC is trully shite.

  3. HMRC obviously doesn't know its arse from its elbow!!!