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.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

We're Off To See The Wizard

My thanks to a loyal reader who posted a comment under my recent article "Failure" about the fact that HMRC are now so desperate to fix internal problems, that they are resorting to witchcraft.

Yes, you did read that correctly, apparently HMRC's "leaned teams" will have a volunteer champion called a "Wizard".

It has come to this!!!

Here is the comment in full:

"It is amazing what opportunities exist for the malevolent individuals in this day and age. Create an impenetrable wall of managers ( if you are an AO, there are 5 layers above you before you reach G6 and this is just local management!), then create another impermeable layer if management via Pacesetter processes. 

This acts like a buffer between the administrative grades and manage. Next up the chain as all "communication" us via the data on the boards. If it's green, everything is fine, if it's red, work harder. If something is wrong, 3 Cs. Be quiet at the back, pacesetter is your friend. 

By the by... Pacesetter 3 cs are being overhauled. 

Sycophants appointed as CIP champions (continuous improvement process), after having renamed the failure of the "Golden Key", as CIP was formerly known. 

Now each team in an operational "leaned" environment will have a volunteer champion to be called a "Wizard". 

I shit you not! 

And people wonder why HMRC is Shite. Management, management, management!"  

Tax does have to be taxing.

UK EXPATS: Reduce tax on UK Pensions

HMRC QROPS provider. Unlock your UK pension and access a 25% lump sum today.

Quote ID code "ABC" when contacting a QROPS specialist.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

What is TAXWISE?

TAXWISE is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Taxwise

Tax Investigation for Dummies, by Nick Morgan, provides a good and easy to read guide for anyone caught up in an HMRC tax investigation. A must read for any Self Assessment taxpayer.

Click the link to read about: Tax Investigation for Dummies

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"


  1. This is true. A Centre Champion will organise the individual team "wizards" to ensure the 3Cs are written correctly. Apparently, after 5 odd years of LEAN/Pacesetter, the staff were not writing their Concerns properly. Apparently, a concern should never be written in the form of a question, and whomsoever raises a concern is responsible for it's counter-measure!!!

    I would laugh if it wasn't so tragic. And my centre, people are embarrassed about the whole "wizard" thing.

    If you don't believe any of this and you work in Cust Ops, send a mail to your CIP champion and leEn the gory facts yourself.

    Hocus-Pocus more like!

  2. Wizards and Champions are what we have in Cust Ops nowadays..... or as we must now sign our letters, Customer Adviser. We even had a "to-do" over whether it was spelt adviser or advisor.

    Gone are the days of policing the tax system, now we merely bow down to what ever the taxpayer wants, even if we know the repayment to be potentially fraudulent.

    Wizards & Champions. Sounds more & more like Dungeons & Dragons that tax & taxation.

  3. @16.48 No offence but I don't see much bowing down to taxpayers. Maybe some of the other posters would like to comment on how much they encounter this

  4. What 16:48 means is - HMRC are absolutely terrified of challenging clearly fraudulent claims to,say,child tax credit. Why? Because an unusually large proportion of these claims are made by people of a non british/english ethnicity. And they are morbidly afeared of accusations of institutional racism. Perhaps Contact Centre staff would care to confirm?

  5. Wizards, Angels & Dragons, Champions FFS WTF is going on in Muppetville these days?
    If you can't get the basics right, you have no fecking chance of getting the awkwards stuff right - like doing the job maybe?
    What next, chicken entrails, Oija boards instead of whiteboards.
    Don't want to create another conspiracy theory but the top brass keep disappearing...

  6. @17.36 Ok, I see.
    @18.06 "top brass keep disappearing" - care to elucidate..?

  7. What's wrong with Wizards. Where would English history be without Merlin?

    And don't forget all those British actors who have had steady employment since the Potter mania started.

    And if the local team champion was a woman would she therefore be a Witch?

    Ahhh the joys of HMRC. The gift that keeps on giving :)))

  8. Does the Wizard get to wear a hat?

  9. It was 'red alert' at our office today. Our whiteboard meeting focused on a Grade 6 in the building having lost a teddy bear - yes, you read me right - he misplaced a teddy bear, and the shit hit the fan because he couldn't find it.

    If only as much effort was made in looking for those Child Benefit disks.

  10. @1 September 2011 20:35

    Those disks were handed over to a company (Hex Code 544E54) to transmit to another govt department.

    That company lost them.....

    But because they are a private company who the government insists on still dealing with and extending contracts to, nothing was done about it and that company walked away with clean hands.

  11. Brilliant posts raising wonderful queries and comments:-

    1. @ 20:35 Was the teddy bear thrown out of his pram?

    2. @ 18:12 disappearing = departing
    have a look back over the last 18 months or so and se who has gone, whether left, sick or whatever, its like a constantly revolving door...

    3. Lean - correct me if I am wrong but wasn't this the principle upon which Toyota hung its hat before their harsh lesson in reality?

    4. Look what's on the cards...from
    Civil Service live network web...
    shortlisted for a gong in LEADING CHANGE IN DIVERSITY & EQUALITY AWARD category stated as " An award for senior individual or collective leadership (eg a departmental Board) that has ensured equality thinking is done as a matter of course in policy making and source delivery _ Melanie Dawes Director General Business Tax HMRC.
    Have a look at Gus O'Donells message re the awards while you are at it.
    HMRC shortlisted for an award in this category? Should be prosecuted under the Trades Descripions Act as a starter, their track record on diversity and equality is appaling.

    5. The 103rd are so far off plot they are in another galaxy never mind on a different planet

    G6 yells "Whose got my ruby slippers?!"
    Staff scream "Run ToTo run"!

  12. @21.09 I thought maybe you meant the current top brass were skipping away to secret hide away meetings to figure out who is going to "fall" on their sword next. I was hoping for some all out wide eyed speculation. LOL. Ah screw; start some rumours there anyway and we'll see how far they go!

  13. If Hari Kari nets the amounts that some of those from the top have been receiving on departure lead on, I'll volunteer to fall on a sword or whiteboard support or even a cross teddy bear if it pays well.
    Don't forget Pacesetter, good old pacesetter, how many pages of jargon explanations was it?
    Want to start a rumour - find out what, if any, third party liability insurance related to buildings is held!
    How much is the sick bill?
    What nationalities are working on short term contracts with what levels of security clearance and accessing what FFS?
    What will the results of the next staff survey be, and what will they result in?

  14. @ 23.13

    Nail bang head.

    To those that do not understand the post, hang your heads in shame.

    So many skeletons, such a small closet.

  15. Merlin the Magician2 September 2011 at 00:46

    FFS, has HMRC lost the plot, or haS HMRC lost the plot?!!!!!!!

  16. Plot? Plot?

    HMRC would need a script first to lose the plot. Oh.... Pacesetter is supposed to be "our way". Damn. But Pacesetter keeps changing every week. Now where was I, hmm must contact the wizard today about a 3c issue... Then abracadabra, all will be fixed. Possibly in a flash?

  17. So rather than properly address staff concerns the glorious 103rd descends further into fantasy role-playing, first with 'champions' and now pacesetter 'wizards'.

    But perhaps the title of 'Bokor' might more accurately reflect the voodoo management practices currently in vogue at HMRC - particularly given the capability of both to create mindless zombies.

  18. Bokor eh?

    The best defence is a good offence!

    However I suggest that you check the next time an Excom Bokor walks past to see if they cast a shadow or have a reflection in a mirror!

    So next time you go for a campus meeting and throw sweet wrappeers into empty printing paper boxes make sure you have garlic, holy water and a crucifix (other faiths catered for as part of HMRC's diversity and equal opportunites policy).

  19. 3 C's, Pacesetter, 17 pages of jargon, evangelical psychophants, idiots in power (iip) loadsa money, awards, gongs, sell it to the Russians.
    Tell it to the Marines says I.
    In those halcyon days before the merger with IR (many still insist it was a takeover) a smallish civil service deparment used to run the indirect tax system of customs, excise (remember them?) and VAT.
    Whilst there were one or two serious glitches in a certain work area (where possibly the worst managers existed) overall it had evolved into a pretty reasonable environment with self-directed work teams encouraged to get on with the job (collect and protect revenue and whilst at it look after prohibitions and restrictions) then wham, at a stroke out it went, innovation evaporated, management become a dirty word and spineless, useless "sheep" took over.
    And no, I don't blame the IR individuals, they existed in a different environment pre HMRC days.
    What happened after the merger will be a learning point for decades to come, managers were created who should not have been responsible for running a charity shop let alone a segment of a huge monolithic organisation that was lost before it started its journey.
    The revolving door appears to be turning more swiftly and passers by would do well to check before passing the ejection zone such is the speed with which bodies are flying out these days!
    Basic question, if those at the top believe all the hype, is there any chance at all of the 103rd doing its job in future?
    There is more to the Pacesetter conspiracy than is apparent, perhaps "The Eye" will latch onto it shortly.

  20. @13:51

    "Whilst there were one or two serious glitches in a certain work area "

    LOL. Institutional fraud,corruption and dishonesty. Lying to Parliament, arrogance and incompetence combined, sleaze and theft. Amongst the most high profile, elite of the elite.

    Yeah, a couple of glitches.......

  21. Merlin the Magician6 September 2011 at 00:22

    Perhaps things will improve if Dame Lesley is replaced by Mystic Meg?

  22. Well well well,

    On the Newsboard this week, "please keep sending e-mails to Leslie Strathie and her team will forward them on to the appropriate people. This will keep an audit trail so Leslie can address any issues upon her return from sick leave"!!!!

    I have paraphrased the above and it is the gist of the message from memory.

    There is something going on here. Why have such a meaningless message on the news board? How many staff can this possibly effect? Is it a response to Kens earlier posts about the immanent departure of the pantomime dame?

    Very curious indeed.

  23. Please note, Dame Lesley is Dame Lesley and not Dame Leslie.