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, 29 October 2010

Inquiry Launched

Politicians, fed up with the ongoing cock ups emanating from HMRC (and doubtless worried that some of the shit will, quite deservedly, splatter back on them) have done what politicians always do under such circumstances, they have announced a formal inquiry into HMRC.

A Treasury sub-committee will examine the effectiveness of HMRC and look at "how HMRC is doing its job, whether it can do it better, and what the future holds".

Dame Lesley Strathie, the "beloved and respected" CEO of HMRC, will be called to give evidence.

Ironically there has already been an inquiry into HMRC, the results of which were published this year. That inquiry found that morale was at rock bottom (HMRC are in fact the unhappiest civil servants in Whitehall).

Anyhoo, since then there has been the PAYE debacle and the announcement of further cuts in HMRC's staff etc. The politicians have realised that the government/state in all its many forms (if it is to continue to function) needs money (in the form of taxes), and that HMRC are the means by which that money is collected.

A catastrophic failure of HMRC, its IT systems, or a protracted general HMRC strike could cause a seizure at the very heart of government as the money needed to run the country is left uncollected/processed. The politicians would, quite rightly, be blamed for much of the ensuing chaos.

Therefore the politicians are panicking, and will look at:

- HMRC's performance
- whether it is delivering its key aims
- the implications of HMRC's spending review settlement
- whether it is "able to deliver" the government's aims on tax avoidance/evasion
- whether reforms to the PAYE system are necessary;
- what HMRC's priorities should be for the future.

Good luck with that then!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. "(HMRC are in fact the unhappiest civil servants in Whitehall)"

    I think you will find that they are the unhappiest anywhere.

  2. We already know the answers to those questions so the exercise will be pointless.

  3. I would be interested in hearing Strathie's thoughts on what effect the low morale of the staff has on the services provided. There must be a knock on affect.

  4. Has this not happened before? An inquiry from MPs into the state of hmrc?
    Strathie and hartnett have done nothing since the last time by the looks of it, so that needs an explanation in itself.

    Shit and all as HMRC is, its going to get get even shittier when they go down 13,000 soon.
    You wonder did Strathie say to Osborne that HMRC was shit as it is and a massive administration budget cut and 13,000 out might not be a good idea or did she just send off an email wondering what her pension pot stood at now.

  5. I don't suppose this high-powered enquiry would deign to accept evidence from us tiny people at the bottom as to how full of vicious, venal crap-artists the management of HMRC is? Like the fact that people have to bring formal grievance proceedings against their own managers for ignoring the Disability Discrimination Act, for instance?

    It is in those layers of useless thugs that any cuts need to be made, as this is the only way left of restoring staff morale.

    I look forward to the publication of the Staff Survey which has just been completed. Assuming HMRC's senior management don't fiddle those figures as well...

  6. Agree with above.

    Senior HMRC managment need to be investigated. They must take responsibility for the mess of morale.

    In march an MP select committee said ""Nonetheless, we are deeply troubled by the apparent absence of any detailed plan to ameliorate the situation."

    Its now almost 2011 and they havnt bothered to do anything.

  7. There are 13 layers of useless thugs to choose from!!! Just imagine, how's about a pilot scheme of getting rid of, say, two or three layers? This would instantly save a small fortune in salary costs, increase efficiency and raise morale virtually overnight... everyone's a winner.

  8. Anon @ 11:57...

    With the exception of the HMRC Board members who are more than happy to continue to collect their six-figure salaries for doing bugger all!!!

  9. Back in the mid-90s, they did something called 'delayering', which meant that entire tiers of managers were made redundant, and this did streamline things somewhat.

    However at that time there were only four business areas in IR: PAYE/SA, Collection, Compliance and Corporate Services.

    Guess what? Under the likes of Varney, Gray, Hartnett and Strathie, there are now over thirty-five business streams, each one with its own layers of management, and those now in management are not there because they were any good at anything other than being able to bullshit their way through "competence-based" selection procedures.

  10. I was interested in the comment made by Anon @ 30 October 2010 13:54.

    "Like the fact that people have to bring formal grievance proceedings against their own managers for ignoring the Disability Discrimination Act, for instance?"

    I am aware of a case of an HMRC staff member having to get the union involved so they could attend a medical screening appointment (linked to surgery that had taken place). The team leader in question actually tried to then make out they where on the side of the staff member and had helped them get permission to attend the appointment.

  11. The Chairman of this so-called sub-committee is Labour Party's Mr George Mudie. The very same MP who was exposed in The Telegraph for having his snout deep in the taxpayers trough during the expenses scandal.

    Yeah, good call. I'm sure the investigation will reflect the 'truth'

  12. Anon @ 30 October 2010 21:03

    I was a new entrant in to the department near the end of this model of local offices having four different 'services' and to a point they were all managed locally by people who knew the business and the people who worked in the business.

    Then someone had a bright idea of creating a linear management of the different parts of the business which entailed further splits and a silo mentality where 'collection' or 'compliance' staff could not interact with 'service' staff and vice versa in any effective manner - which has meant that people only deal with one aspect of someone's tax then have to pass it on to someone else, usually in a different part of the country!

    I'm not yet even in my thirties and I'm starting to go misty eyed over a department that was managed so well until the likes of Ann Chant and David Varney and their successors went on a departmental killing spree and made several thousand bullet holes and then b***ered off with 6 figure pensions when things got tough.

  13. May I remind everyone that David Varney was appointed to HMRC after overseeing a loss of £10,200,000,000 in 2003 at his previous company. MM02. See

    It seems that private sector failures are welcome in HMRC but the remaining 60,000 departments staff still get the blame for being 'typical whitehall ivory tower etc etc'. When it's apparent that the failed private sector just exports sludge to the 'leadership' of the public sector.

  14. 2 November 2010 20:35 & 2 November 2010 20:48

    Keep your chins up guys and you never know you may be lucky enough to keep your jobs and not end up looking for something else in the failed private sector.

  15. I was employed by DHSS for 34 years before being "taken over" by IR which then became HMRC. I spent the last 9 years of my career in the pits!! I have never known such a bunch of grade conscious dinosaurs in my entire life. Thank goodness I was fortunate enough to escape when I retired over two years ago. Never been happier but my sympathies are with those I left behind.

  16. The loss that MM02 made whilst David Varney was a director is £11.2bn.

    The same man took over a department that had approx 100,000 staff.

    This means that the government decided to put someone in charge of HMRC who, if HMRC could issue 1 shareholder dividend per HMRC employee and had made an equivalent loss at HMRC as he had made at MM02, would cost the taxpayer £102,000 per HMRC employee?

    I suggest the private sector takes a good look at itself before blaming the public sector employees for everything and expecting them to pay for the mistakes the boneheads at the 'top' of the league have created.

  17. I cannot see why there has to be any blame passed between the private and public sector. It is quite easy to see what happens. The private sector puts out the rubbish and the public sector picks it up.

  18. Anon @ 3 November 2010 22:19 - I think you hit the nail on the head there.

  19. Maybe the public sector should avoid recycling rubbish and let it just go to the dump from now on.

  20. I currently have the misfortune of working for her majestys moronic cretans and see daily the endless speel of useless statistics and enough pie charts and graphs produced to stretch end on end to uranus and back.
    Forget about actually doing anything useful like answering the phones or something just concentrate on keeping staff down and in their pigeon holed grades.
    A grade system so biast even Nelson Mandella wouldnt touch it.
    its a nonsense world run by nonsense people on a wing and a prayer but sooner rather than later the whole mess is going to implode with disastrous effects - not for those cocooned morons but for the British public.

  21. I guess Anon @ 9 November 2010 21:58 will be submitting evidence to the treasury sub committee then.

  22. If I thought for a moment that anybody at the Treasury sub commitee would consider any evidence I submitted, I would be only too glad to stand before them and tell them like it is.
    But i dont earn over a hundred grand a year - therefore my evidence would only be good enough to be printed out and used to wipe their shite covered fuckwit arses.