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.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Postman Prat

Postman Prat
As we are about to enter a period of postal disruption, it is probably worthwhile commenting on HMRC's centralised post rooms.

There are I think, but please correct this if I am wrong, three in the UK. They are staffed by people working to targets, who have no knowledge of the tax system; ie the letters are meaningless to them, and they do not have the experience to direct them to the correct offices or departments.

Ironically, even though they work to targets, they do not receive feedback as to the quality of their service so that they can improve it.

HMRC pay for all the post to be re-directed ("customers", or tax payers, are never given the central post room addresses) to the central post rooms. The post is then opened, sorted (apparently some documents become detached and separated from the main letter) then HMRC pay for it to be re delivered by TNT, more often than not to the office that the letter was addressed to originally.

Staff, in at least one central post room, frequently fall behind wrt post opening and are then paid overtime to work weekends to try to catch up.

All outgoing post also has to go via the central post room, it is then taken by TNT to be packed in envelopes and then posted out from there.

As one commentator in the PCS magazine notes:

"Can it truly be more efficient to send mail posted in London to a regional post room miles away to be dealt with and then sent back?"

Answers on a postcard please!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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17 comments:

  1. I thought there was an overtime ban in place here at HMRC.

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  2. The union overtime ban only applies to members & there are plenty of staff who aren't. Even some of the union members do the overtime anyway. They badly need the money....

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  3. *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

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  4. The reason for regional post sorting was because royal mail decided that any office that didnt generate enough post per day had to pay a surcharge of £21. As a lot of offices have had drastic staff cuts it wasn't cost efficient to have them do their own post anymore

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  5. Interesting reading this. Is it really cheaper to pay for all that mail to be re-directed and then pay for the post to be delivered a second time, plus the overtime, because a few small offices were charged £21?

    To start with, there is the duplication of a lot of the work adding to the manpower needed as the tax payers phone up or write again about the same matter, because of the lateness of a reply due to the huge delays with the post going in & out.

    "Data security" (put in inverted commas for no other reason than it isn't always secure) is also an issue. After the debacle of the Child Tax credit disk, HMRC senior officers believe that the department is one of the safest in Government. Sending post to be enveloped in polylopes is hardly secure. Just be sure to make sure that you keep copies of everything, and avoid sending in originals unless asked for.

    We need also add finally one of HMRC's key environmental targets of a reduction of 12.5% in CO2 by 2010, this really seems to be a contradiction, unless of course they are planning on "buying" environmental offsets in order to achieve that target. Hardly a good use of taxpayers money?

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  6. Unfortunately it isn't a small number of offices now so saving £21 per office and sending by tnt which they have already paid for it is cheaper. As for data security i suspect even dthat comes second to saving a few pounds

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  7. Post of 17/10/09 18.14
    But surely they have already, or are in the process of closing all the smaller offices.

    Are you are telling me that the cost of posting on, using TNT, every single tax payer letter sent in to HMRC is already included in the original contract they had @ no extra cost? Wow that is a deal & a half, I find it very hard to believe. TNT are in business & need to make money, how on earth could they taken on such a vast amount of extra work & not charge for it. I think they charge on weight.

    I wonder if anyone knows how much all the re-directing cost.

    You are correct about the data security issue they really don't care when tax payers personal documents, P60s, marriage certificates, forms they have completed & goodness knows what else, are opened & put in the post again minus their envelopes and jumbled in with a load of other tax payers mail.

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  8. DON'T FORGET ALL THE TAX REURNS

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  9. From what i was told TNT were already taking post to the other office anyway so it didnt add a cost as the small amount of extra post generated didn't really add to what they were taking. Post was already going to the office which sorts it in huge bags which we barely a quarter full so it was mostly a case of the bag was just a bit fuller. Anyway as ESS have or are in the process of removing all ESS and postroom staff anyway there was or is no one to do the costings, putting post into envelope sealing them or count them for royal mail just a case of now put it in an envelope and into the TNT bag to another office.

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  10. Incidentally in our office all the tax return, PAYE, SA, Employers etc are bagged together and sent to another office, the only thing we do is take the off the customer or postman put them in polyope to office and into TNT no one in our offices even sees them anymore.

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  11. From what i was told TNT were already taking post to the other office anyway so it didnt add a cost as the small amount of extra post generated didn't really add to what they were taking.

    Post used to go direct from tax payer to office that dealt with it, the cost was born by the tax payer as HMRC long ago stopped providing post paid envelopes, there was no cost as all to HMRC to receive mail. Now HMRC pays for a re-direct on every item of incoming post to the central post room & then pays again to post it on to the office that will work it. Outgoing post is sent first to the central post room via TNT & then posted again via Royal Mail. This is no way a small amount of post, it is every letter in and every letter out, as opposed to a small amount being sent from one office to another previously. You have me very confused How can this not cost a great deal ????

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  12. There is not one single thing that HMRC does that is simple, quick and efficient. Their post handling procedures are a prime example of their trademark inefficiency, and are laughable in the extreme.

    Don't waste your time complaining to HMRC as the clueless, self-indulgent managers orchestrating this farce don't give a shit. They are in complete denial that anything is wrong and can "prove" everything in the garden is rosy by producing all manner of spreadsheets and "performance league tables" as "evidence" (whilst, rather sickenly, trousering performance bonuses based on these league tables).

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  13. Complain to an HMRC manager and the answer you receive will make about as much sense as Bill & Ben (The Flowerpot Men)... "Flub a lub a lub...!!!

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  14. It is good to see that even in the face of adversity Mr Brown remains calm and unflustered while keeping his nose clean:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VaP1HB7Vew&feature=related

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  15. Civil servants endlessly pushing bits of paper around the country... isn't that what their core purpose is?

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  16. A few years ago when the main political parties were trying to out bid each other to see who could get rid of the most civil servants didn't anyone wonder how it was going to work in practice? Who was going to do the work if they got rid of the people doing the work?

    Compulsory online filing, delays in repayments, post being shipped around the country, long trips and pre booked appointments if you want to see someone, accountants & "customers" expected to do more with less help available and longer waiting times on the phones - this is what it means to modernise (aka cut costs arbitrarily).

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  17. civil servants endlessly pushing bits of paper around the country... isn't that what their core purpose is?

    It certainly wasn't mine when I applied for the job but it's what I end up doing. Some of those bits of paper travel a few hundred miles to get from A to B

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