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, 5 August 2011

How To Lie With Statistics


ICAS (the professional body of Chartered Accountants) have published a response to the Treasury Committee's report into the Administration and Effectiveness of HMRC.

"In response to the Treasury Committee’s report into the Administration and Effectiveness of HMRC, Derek Allen, Director of Taxation at ICAS, the professional body of Chartered Accountants (CAs), commented:

“ICAS and other professional bodies gave evidence to the Committee expressing concerns that HMRC’s service performance was unacceptably poor. HMRC takes too long to process returns, answer letters and deal with taxpayers seeking help. HMRC has also been responsible for many errors such as issuing incorrect coding notices and delays in processing information. This has damaged public confidence in the tax system.

“The UK tax system is complex. HMRC needs to be accessible to taxpayers and their professional advisers if it is to achieve its vision of helping compliant taxpayers pay the right tax at the right time.

Sadly, HMRC deserves the criticism that they are responsible for delays and mistakes.

This undermines the trust that used to exist between taxpayers and HMRC. HMRC now needs to visibly demonstrate that it can improve its service.”

The Committee’s recommendations included:
• Improving the service provided by contact centres, particularly in relation to escalating complex queries and providing alternatives to 0845 numbers
• Providing robust alternative to online contact, including more cost-effective ways of providing face-to-face advice

The Committee’s findings are of no surprise to ICAS, who has previously voiced concerns over HMRC’s shortcomings and poor performance, reflected in surveys undertaken by the Institute.

“HMRC needs to be accountable for its performance. The Institute welcomes the recommendation that professional bodies, such as ICAS, should be involved in setting realistic performance standards for HMRC.

We are concerned that internal statistics do not reveal the true picture of delay and difficulty being caused by HMRC. It is essential that the Treasury Select Committee encourage more evidence from external sources.

The Committee should continue to monitor HMRC performance and service delivery and receive regular updates from HMRC management of the progress made to restore an acceptable service.”

Readers should note well the comment "We are concerned that internal statistics do not reveal the true picture of delay and difficulty being caused by HMRC."

The issue of inaccurate internal statistics, survey results and manipulated feedback up the HMRC chain of command have been commented on regularly on this site. It is encouraging to see that the issue has been picked up by others.

"HMRC deserves the criticism that they are responsible for delays and mistakes."

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Well Ken, the review on lower grade SCS and some mumpty G6/G7 is about to be concluded. Strathie said she wants no more than 7/8 layers between her and the lowest grades meaning a third of managers will have to be "redeployed".

    If you want to understand why nothing gets done and why ExComm have been morons for so many years, then look no farther than the managers.

    Despite unremitting criticism from "customers", the media (a bit), parliament..nothing changes.

    Don't stop with criticism Ken and good luck with the site. It is appreciated by a lot of us unimportant drones at the HMRC. Believe it or not, we wish to help the taxpayer, but the situation is such that much worse is coming. I fear for the welfare of the least able taxpayer to defend themselves against the shocking ignorance that pervades the management here.

    And the long suffering "customers"... Sorry, there's not much more I can say. Like minded people at the revenue are hoping that sanity will prevail, but I am looking elsewhere now for work.

  2. We are concerned that internal statistics do not reveal the true picture...the biggest work of fiction since war and peace

    Clasper put a knee jerk statement on the HMRC intranet headlined :
    "Mike Clasper defends HMRC" and then went through the usual bollocks of trying to gloss over the whole shambles, the man is totally deluded.

    Noticed there hasn't been a peep out of him over the last few days as the shit keeps pouring out...draw your own conclusions!

  3. Where do the unions stand on this?

    I have heard it said their priority is to keep people in work, but surely they are also there to protect the working conditions of those members left in work, and also protect them from the effects of poor management? To this effect they have not succeeded.

  4. "Where do the unions stand on this?"

    They are not interested. I have spoken to people in the PCS head office and they state that bullying and that sort of thing can only be dealt with on an individual case be case basis.

    I guess it is because bullying only leads to a few members becoming ex members of the union when they leave HMRC due to ill health, but when it comes to pensions they could loose a large number of members if they do not act (even though they know will loose the fight). So I guess if it is going to affect the pockets big time they will act otherwise you need to just GTF.

  5. It looks as though this organisation is riddled with a combination of law breaker's, bullies, incompetants, corruption and dare I say it criminals.

    And if you find that statement difficult to believe you obviously are deluded, have a look at Private Eye 1294 p. 29 and the article entitled "Dave's Dinners" it shows how the NAO has either been hoodwinked or worse describing a £20m write-off of interest as a "financial error".

    When an organisation this powerful has such sytemic failings there is no hope for their beleagured work force.

    Malfeasance in public office?
    Whatever happened to the Civil Service it has not been for the better. Perhaps, Ken, you should go for an FOI into the numbers of cases raised and also the amount paid in both compensation and cover-up compromise agreements. That might cause someone somewhere to wake up.

    HMRC appears to be heading towards more than unfit for purpose!

  6. From this it must be patently obvious that besides HMRC's beleagured staff and customers even M.P.'s no longer believe that HMRC is telling the truth.
    Short of a downright accusation of lying a sentence such as "We are concerned that internal statistics do not reveal the true picture....being caused by HMRC" is pretty damning in its own right.
    Are thing really so bad that HMRC has the temerity to withold or disguise the truth from M.P.'s, WTF is really going on in there?

  7. Does anyone know what has happened to the directors who didn't get a job? Chris hopson and Simon smith in particular

  8. @21:10

    I bet they're both lurking within HMRC somewhere, after all they wouldn't want to the publicity of have 3 high profile SCS directors "leave" would they?

    Besides Bernadette Kenny's "leaving" gift from HMRC has probably meant there's non left for anyone else!

  9. I bet this tactic was thought up as part of the customer centric business strategy!

    After all isn't it part of "the vision" to treat people as honest!