Tuesday 5 April 2011

Hanging On The Telephone

My thanks to the loyal reader who posted a link to the above video, which shows a recent encounter between the Grande Dame (Lesley Strathie) and the Treasury Select Committee on 16 March 2011.

The Grande Dame was being questioned about the quantity of different phone numbers that HMRC have for contacting them, and the fact that they are 0845.

The Grande Dame failed to give any deadlines for reducing the number of lines, or switching from the more expensive 0845 numbers.

The issue wrt 0845 has been around for a number of years, I commented on it in 2008 and again in 2009. One anonymous commentator at the time noted that the 0845 numbers are free (along with various comments that this site was shite etc:). That being the case why does the Treasury Select Committee say that they are not free, and why did Strathie not correct them?

In the video Strathie states (with a degree of exasperation) that HMRC do not make any money from the 0845 numbers. As I noted in 2009 I have no reason to disbelieve this statement. However, it is possible that Cable and Wireless (who provide the service) offset part of the fees that they charge HMRC with the revenue stream from the 0845 numbers.

That of course is purely speculation on my part, as I have not seen the agreement between C&W and HMRC.

That aside, do watch and enjoy the video; Strathie is absolutely hopeless.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Useless Twat.

  2. "we've a vast range of phone numbers. I cant give you a clear answer".
    "Its a vast business"
    "Its a huge programme of change".
    "I cant answer it"
    "Its a huge investment"

    Its a huge pile of shite, isnt it Leslie?

  3. Ah, so it is a business now; that must explain why they think I am a customer.....I'm glad she cleared that up for me, as I always thought it was part of the state and that I was a taxpayer or service user!!!!!!!!!!

  4. If they dont have the costs of the number change, they haven't bothered to look at it.

    As Yoda said - "do or do not, there is no try"

    "Take the Challenge?" - my arse!

    First time I've heard Strappie speak and she really is a useless twat @ 11.04. They all are.

  5. @11.45

    Good point. HMRC are supposed to police the vat/tax system, not run it like a business. i.e. Protect the Treasury and Serve the taxpayer.

    If the actual Police started to run like a business, we dont need to imagine the consequences - just look at the pile of dung that is HMRC.

  6. She needs to be publicly sacked without a penny compensation and her pension confiscated so she is left with nothing. It would be nice to think of the bitch ending her days starving and living in a cardboard box on the streets, however she will have plenty of cash stashed. Slags like her always do.

  7. Clasper sitting there sniggering.

  8. "We're running a business!"

    This is the mantra which has been thrown at us for the last five years or more.

    Expensive management consultants brought in to put right something which didn't have much wrong with it?

    "We're running a business!"

    Treating experienced staff as if they were particularly slow-witted nine-year-olds by forcing them to follow scripts which are an insult to the intelligence of all who speak or hear them?

    "We're running a business!"

    Staff stranded at home in bad weather in remote areas who are refused paid time off?

    "We're running a business!"

    Why do we have a bunch of wannabe-samurai running a Department which has gone from four main sections (Inspection, Collection, Compliance and Common Services) to nearly 40 'streams' all getting in each other's way and each with its own little warrior caste?

    "We're running a business!"


  9. Yee Harrr!
    At long last people appear to be sitting up and taking notice and getting somewhat agitated.
    Many truths told here about these delusionaal muppets.
    Technology is a wonderous thing allowing all and sundry, the hoi poloi & co. to see these overpaid prats failing to earn their money.
    I really like 1410's suggestion about doing away with compensation and pension, if only.
    How big is the real tax gap if you add all the various individual areas together?
    Tax needn't be taxing!
    My Ar@e!

  10. How did she get to be a dame? The criteria obviously isn't high.

  11. And they have all been trained in presentational skills and how to deal with facing the media, haven't they?
    I'd ask for my money back if that's the case!

  12. You can see the whole thing at parliamentlive.tv

  13. If government really worked for us (laugh) then why would we put up with this !

    It's time she was hugely publicly embarrassed by an issue she couldn't hum err her war out of... (suggestions below please). . .

  14. Time for some facts, perhaps.

    The cost to HMRC if they changed from 0845 numbers would be huge. Why? Well allow me to explain.

    Every form which features an 0845 number would need to be changed. This would seem like a simple thing to do, but that's far from the truth. Many of the forms are produced electronically and in bulk, via a print run. To make a change to the form requires a request to our IT partners to amend the software which will attract a significant cost. Multiply that by the considerable amount of forms that HMRC sends out every day and you're looking at a very large amount of money which they simply don't have.

    Who's to blame for this? Step forward Gordon Brown who, as chancellor of the exchequer, not only commissioned the review into the working of The Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise which led to the ill-conceived merger and its resultant massive, year-on-year reduction in budget, but whose love affair with PFI deals and privatisation saw their in-house IT services go to Aspire/Fujitsu.

    I actually have a measure of sympathy for the senior managers because they know that there simply isn't enough money to go around and customers will continue to suffer.

    What can be done to rectify this? Well, for a start, when the government announces further swingeing cuts to public services, maybe it would help if people actually stood up and said something against it. Instead, the general public has been sold a lie that HMRC, and other public bodies, are filled to the rafters with bowler-hat wearing, free-lunch scoffing, platinum-plated-pension claiming Whitehall mandarins.

    If you failed to complain about the cuts to HMRC budgets (which have been ongoing for 6 years now, without pause), you really can't be surprised when you receive a shoddy service. There's an old saying - you get what you pay for.

  15. "There's an old saying - you get what you pay for."

    Trouble is that if you look at the staffing levels and size of the budget HMRC gets we certainly are not getting the service we are paying for.

    I seem to recall that HMRC's budget is actually bigger this year than last so maybe we will see a small improvement.

  16. Leslie Strathie is an abhorrent woman devoid of any morals with nothing but contempt for the staff she represents. She and the other members of the Executive Committee of HMRC, particularly Chief "People" (a complete contradiction in terms) Officer Mike Falvey appear to take some warped satisfaction from kowtowing to Tory political ideology for the sake of a £185,000+ a year salary. It takes some bitch to be able to look herself in the mirror and find some self respect. A quick heads up Leslie you have none. You are a complete waste of the breath you breathe. And as you seem to think it is right that the pension agreements that people have signed up for several years ago can be simply torn up because people are living longer maybe you can do the decent thing and use a rope on the day of your retirement so the taxpayer does not have to fund your gross and richly undeserved pension.