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.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Turning Japanese

My thanks to a loyal reader, who posted a comment yesterday about HMRC's Pacesetter programme (the Japanese management "tool" imported by HMRC from Toyota - a company currently experiencing quality control problems - et al).

It seems that Pacesetter is so loaded with jargon (some of which is actually in Japanese) that a "jargon busting" booklet of 11 pages has been produced (courtesy of the tax revenues raised from the taxpayers), to help explain the jargon to the increasingly bemused and confused long suffering staff of HMRC.

Here is the comment in full:

"From the heart of the "Beast" itself comes proof positive (as if it were needed at this stage) Pacesetter Jargon Buster, yep another one you couldn't dream up only this proves that HMRC has really lost the plot...there are 11 pages of crap purely given over to the jargon associated with Pacesetter, that's right dear customer, tax payer, reader or whatever, 11 pages!

What is going on FFS?

There are even Japanese words and phrases needing explaining listed in the 11 pages.
How much has this poisoned chalice cost the taxpayer?
More than you might believe.

So whether you believe it or not is immaterial, the fact remains that phrases and words like swim lane flowchart, Poka Yoke (aka error proofing) Heijunka, Ishikawa, Jidoka, Kaizen, Muda (Japanese for waste!!!) Problem-Solving "O" (unsure about this, query sexual act), as might Sensai be?
Take your pick people....

Were all doomed I tell ye, doomed, aye....

Being in awe of Japanese management/leadership techniques is all very well, maybe. However, as the ongoing disaster in Japan is proving, government/management based on consensus and contemplation does not work in times of crisis. The Japanese are crying out for someone to "step up to the plate" and take charge/responsibility.

Where are the leaders when you really need them?

Into the valley of death rode the 103rd..

Needless to say, if anyone is able to email me a copy of the jargon buster I will be more than happy to upload it onto the site.

Sayonara everyone!

"Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. If memory serves me right the highest paid official at my beloved HMRC (not) last year was the chap in charge of Pacesetter. Treble saki's all round!!

  2. Everyone in the office should address junior and senior managers with a bow and the following,

    "good morning Kusot-tare"

  3. I think Mark Serwotka and the PCS should ballot members over the withdrawal, by HMRC senior management, of storage facilities for ceremonial swords.

    I also draw the line at singing the company song every hour on the hour!

  4. Have some faith please! Look, it must have some merit because look who has got a new job.

  5. While serving as HMRC Chairman Paul was also Head of Profession for Operational Delivery across Government;

    Dame Lesley Strathie is now holder of that auspicious can only hope ahe goes the same way as Mr Gray

  6. Why dont all in excom and the greasy ass lickers who surround them commit Hari Kari and give everybody in the real world a break...

  7. A Senior Officer on our floor has a small Rising Sun paper weight on his desk.

    I shit you not.

  8. Saints preserve us Capt Mainwaring ye ken? I know ye sassenachs are a weird bunch but P"2 discs"G now coaching Govt. Depts. - the lunatics really are running the asylum.
    Progression route looks familiar DWP - HMRC - almighty cock-up and depart with mega pay-off and lined up for a job with a NWO related organisation.
    Where's David Ike when you need him?
    Were doomed Mainwaring I tell doomed!

  9. we will all be drinking Absinthe soon

    Absinthe makes the fart go Honda.

  10. And I thought an ITCHI FANNY was a Japanese motorcycle!

    Bring back SUMO, SUSHI and SAKE!

  11. As if by magic - Toyota, Deeside are to suspend manufacturing due to a shortage of parts available from...Japan!
    Yes we all know about the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear problems but what happened to the disaster recovery plan, its not as if Japan has not experienced recent issues with all 3 including nuclear power station reliability.

  12. The problem with initiatives such as Pacesetter is that they become cottage industries within the organisation, providing promotion opportunities to those who can extol their virtues convincingly, ie sales people, whether they believe in them or not. There is no future in the organisation for people who say "The Emperor has no clothes".
    It would be interesting to know how many staff are employed in the Pacesetter "back office". Staff with no tax knowledge but who are devoted to the Pacesetter process. Unlike other initiatives I lived through in my Revenue career this is very long lived. There has been so much time and money invested in it, from the initial millioms paid to Corven consultants, who promised us the earth about 5 years ago, to the current consultants and staff employed on the process, that I can't see it being abandoned.

  13. It won't be abandoned. There is no plan b. The politicians burnt all the bridges when they cut the workforce without thinking about how to get the work done. That experience and knowledge is lost.

    It will continue like this, farming out bits to the private sector for massive profit and telling people to get an accountant.

  14. An interesting discussion, speaking as both a tutor of two of the more alarming forms of Japanese fisticuffs and a student of Japanese history and business practices.
    During the long years of the Shogunate, when the Samurai system truly evolved, Samurai had the distinction of having true names and everyone else was known by their profession (not unlike England in mediaeval times, think of 'Porter', 'Smith' and 'Cooper' as surnames).
    The difference between mediaeval Japanese societies and modern zaibatsu (business concern) society and HMRC is that the Samurai or Salaryman class took/take responsibility for what their retainers (staff) do or did. They rewarded success and punished failure with summary justice (brings a whole new meaning to 'headcount'). HOWEVER - they were answerable for all of their actions to the emperor or shogun. In one ancient script it says "not a leaf shall fall without the emperor calling for account".
    Samurai also understood that with great power comes great responsibility. Excom are like kids taught Karate these days inEngland - they want to know how to kick someone's kidneys out through their ears, but are not interested in the humility, sense of responsibility for the weak or kindness that says that this is a very last resort.
    Hey, EXCOM stooge (you know you are reading this, where is your sense of shame?) take these messages back to the limited minds you creep around for:
    1. If you wish to embrace Japanese business culture, embrace ALL of it. When there is a mistake, YOU are responsible, not your retainers.
    2. The finest quality a Samurai could display was compassion.
    3. A Samurai would commit Hara Kiri (proper spelling) rather than blame his weapons (IT systems) or retainers (staff) for failure.
    4. Samurai learned early that theirs was a privileged position and acted with humility when faced with those less fortunate.
    5. The belief that wisdom comes from far away is incorrect. I doubt that many Tibetan monks follow the Secret Way of Tesco as their guiding principle. Value your people and ask them what needs fixing.
    OK, rant over, but sometimes it bugs me. I am also one of the lowly retainers of HMRC ('clerical grades', as one of charmless Samurai described us).

  15. Banzai! Yahtzee! Hari Kari!

    Do the taxpaying customers realise how much of their hard earned money, paid in good faith as direct or indirect taxation is actually wasted by the Glorious 103rd Brigade of Muppets?
    The Politicians obviously don't give a damn until too late and the tax gap becomes permanent at a high level - as now.
    Wake up before its too late people.

  16. Hah, this lot would see 102nd out of 102 as an improvement and an excuse to pay a bonus or two!

  17. An interesting discussion to me, as a tutor of two of the more alarming versions of Japanese armed fisticuffs and a long time student of Japanese Samurai culture and zaibatsui (Japanese business concerns).
    I love the way that EXCOM are so similar to the kids in England who want to learn martial arts - they want to learn how to kick someones kidneys out through their ears, but not to learn the humility and phiosophy that says that this is always the very last resort.
    During the Shogunate, a long dark period of Japanese history, the samurai flourished. They learned a lot of lessons.
    Hey, EXCOM stooge, you know you are reading this and will scuttle back to your semi-brained masters to report (how is your Zanshin (spirit) and Wa (harmony)?)
    Take these messages back to your Samurai:
    1. No Samurai would blame his retainers ('clerical grades' as one of our charmless Samurai described us lowly non SCS grades) or his weapons (IT systems) for failure. It would have meant a loss of face only recoverable by Seppuku (ritual suicide).
    2. The greatest quality prized among Samurai was humility and kindness to those less fortunate (retainers had no names, they were known by their jobs, similar to English surnames, Smith, Porter, etc).
    3. The Samurai learned early on that retainers were their most valuable assets and treated them with honour and wisdom.
    4. Wisdom does not come from far away. No Samurai, or now Salaryman in a Zaibatsu, studies 'The Way of Tesco' to find enlightenment. Trust your retainers to know their jobs. They do them and you don't.
    4. Without the trust and support of your retainers, you are just a bloke with two swords, a katana and a wakizashi. There will always be someone with a bigger and faster katana.
    Rant over, but sometimes it bugs me.

  18. Oh and while I'm on the subject - although Samurai had the right of instant justice, bringing a whole new meaning to the idea of 'headcount', they had to account to the emperor or shogun. "Not a leaf shall fall but the Emperor shall have account" as it says in the old script. If EXCOM see themselves as a new Samurai class, they should be ashamed. Interestingly, although there were no female Samurai, there were many female Ninju. Silent assassins? Sounds right....

  19. Sorry, me again. Here's a challenge, EXCOM stooge. If any member of EXCOM has a sense of honour, meet me in a black dojo (no witnesses, no mercy expected or given) your choice of weapons. Let's see just how Samurai you are.

  20. Thank you oh enlightened one for showing the disbelievers the true path.
    Excom think they only have to follow some of the ways of Tzun Tzu (apologies for any misspelling).
    Your explanation and comparisons are brilliant and do justice to your teacher.
    Excom, however are neither honourable nor wise and quite frankly should not be trusted with undertaking a geisha tea ceremony, let alone running a government organisation.
    With reference to your offer to challenge an Excom member I would ensure you have a good book to read because you will have a long wait.
    Although I would caution against giving an Excom member a choice of weapon, it could be the Pacesetter jargon guide, all 11 pages, it is a mighty weapon in the wrong hands and can put people in a coma at 20 paces. Do take care.