Way back in January I noted the following:
"The National Audit Office (NAO) report that up to 44 million calls to HMRC went unanswered in the year 2008-09.
Out of the 103M calls made to HMRC's directorate handling telephone enquiries (an increase of 22% compared to the previous year), 57% (58M) were answered (down from 71% in the previous year).
The National Audit Office stated:
'In terms of handling telephone enquiries, the Department is not currently achieving value for money, as it recognises.'".
The BBC and Public Accounts Committee have finally caught up.
The BBC reports that the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has condemned HMRC's call-handling operation as "poor", and that HMRC needs to be "more ambitious" in improving its service to callers.
HMRC state that, by next year, it aims to answer 90% of calls; despite the fact that the "industry standard" is 95%.
HMRC contact centre staff spend 38% of their time handling calls, compared with an industry benchmark of 60%.
Committee chairman Edward Leigh said:
"If an organisation wants more of its customers to contact it by telephone, then it has got to be good at answering calls.
HMRC unfortunately is not very good at answering calls, its performance remaining well below industry best practice standards.
Staffing levels should be matched more closely to the peaks and troughs of demand and the department must do more to cut the number of calls it regards as unnecessary."
Maybe HMRC should revert to face to face contact centres, which worked very well in the past?
That of course would cost money, and would not fit with Brown's "promise" of everyone having a personal web page from which they can interact with all government organisations at the click of a button.
I am certainly looking forward to seeing that work!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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