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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

HMRC's Pacesetter Shambles



My thanks to a loyal reader (LR) who advised me of some issues that he/she has heard about in HMRC's enforcement office in Worthing.

LR understands that staff there have been told to stop sending work to the Solicitor's Office in London, the official reason being a lack of money to fund such proceedings; ie, if this is the real reason, there is no longer enough money in the relevant budget to collect tax!

However, it is suspected that this is an excuse to cover the fact that the Solicitor's Office has a backlog of thousands of such cases.

Why has such a backlog arisen?

Step forward HMRC's much "loved" Pacesetter work process, which seemingly has caused the backlog.

Apparently endless amounts of time and money are now being spent trying to reinvent the wheel to make processes more efficient. Unfortunately all that happens is that the opposite happens, and work doesn't get done and backlogs develop.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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33 comments:

  1. Hello all;

    Would someone be so kind as to tell me exactly what pacesetter is, what it is supposed to do and whether it actually works.

    Thanks in anticipation of your replies.

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  2. Pacesetter is the art of analysing twisted nonsense statistics to death using whiteboards and graphs galore in the vain hope that staff may stop thinking of how shite it is to work for these corporate bullies and become model citizens and employees who can only look up in awe at senior managers who can do no wrong.
    Thats about it in a nutshell for you...

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    1. pretty much spot on!

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    2. Seems HMRC are losing post again, there is a pattern, especially if it relates to tax refunds. Then we get a letter stating we are out of time. Further tactics with these daily penalties include lost 64-8 forms and withholding UTR numbers. Says a lot for a country that survives financially by fining it's citizens. Whatever happened to the concept of "commercial retribution"?

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  3. It is a time and motion tool used by UNIPART so it has nothing whatsoever to do with tax, office work, or providing a service to TP's (Sorry CUSTOMERS as pacesetter call tax payers now) It does not work. We have all been down this path before with LEAN and that was proved to be bollocks too. Anyone being promoted now is not done so because of their taxes background any more as long as you can draw on whiteboards, talk bollocks and say how wonderful pacesetter is you can become a 'pacesetter champion' do no tax work and get promoted. I would personally love to line them all up and stick their whiteboards where the sun doesn't does not shine only their heads are so far up there there won't be room.

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  4. Pacesetter is as per above post states a time & motion tool but I agree not in any way designed for use in a government department such as HMRC.
    Its used as an excuse to get a break off the phones while somebody twitters on about stats that nobody cares about where i work.
    The amount of time, money ,paper and ink wasted on this shambolic debarcle of an idea is scandalous.
    It would have been cheaper to hire a load of hypnotists to try and brainwash your staff in to submission and probably more productive

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  5. Pacesetter is also seen as an easy career move for staff who can't hack it on the front line. Every morning from my desk I see the same four people (there used to be three) gathered round one of four whiteboards moving bits of paper around. As long as they're happy...

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  6. HMRC have a wonderful tax helpline starting with 0845 local rate calls but yes they have found a way paying for thousands and thousands of whiteboards - its to keep you hanging on the phone for at least 15minutes going through a sinario of press 1,press2,press3...........................you heard of it? it pays for managers to go on all expenses paid 'conferences' even though they have live video meetings for tuppence haa'penni.thank you for milking me for everything i have.

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  7. I got two nights in a £100 hotel a few years ago for a Pacesetter meeting it started at 1.30pm finished at 4.30pm. The irony was my section was closing down after we got sent on it. Still the facilities in the hotel were top notch for the minute amount of time we actually spent at the pacesetter meeting.

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  8. It depends on how staff use it. Some comments here show that it is used incorrectly in their office with 3 or 4 staff moving paper. In the early days it was introduced ham-fisted but when staff actually understand the tools they are given they can actually change a lot of things in the day to day business. Whereas before we all whinged about how something didn't work but were ignored by senior management we are n ow able to problem solve and prove points of fact and make changes possible. Unfortunately, its still not been grasped in the local tax office and stifled in the contact centres by managers but I am hopeful that as more areas 'get it' then they will move to these areas and eventually will improve HMRC. Stick with it and empower the staff at the bottom.

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    Replies
    1. You complete and total wanker.

      Get a job.

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    2. Sooo.....it's not working in local tax offices, or contact centres.......where exactly does that leave, where it is working?

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    3. Well there's always Local Compliance...er sorry, it's not working there either

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    4. And CT operations .....erm......as you were

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    5. Lean is about industrialisation, which suits the mindset of poor managers who incorrectly hold on to the notion of command and control methods. Must measure staff performance and whip them to work harder to targets. Service industry is not a factory floor and therefore cannot be managed in the same way. Fact: If managers measure cost (which is what they do when targeting staff activity/performance by arbitrary measures), then costs always goes up! If managers measure end to end flow and understand their business as a system, then costs get driven out of the system as a consequence. This is proven stuff.
      Some good reading on the subject can be found by Googling "John Seddon" - commonsense stuff that's almost laughable in its' simplicity.

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    6. Pacesetter is a means of ensuring the eventual demise of HMRC, as it once was. Those who have been "Engaged" and proclaim the benefits of Pacesetter? Have, in deed, been brainwashed into thinking that their contribution will make efficiencies! Yes, they get promoted. But ultimately they find that no matter how much you try to change processes brought forward from "Engagement" with the front line staff? The "Pacesetter Advocates" (oh, such an esteemed title!), have to tell you at board meetings that those efficiencies are put on the back boiler because no-one actually knows within the structure of pacesetter who would actually make those happen! Or they use the excuse it would cost money to actually implement them! That is of course, because Pacesetter is a smokescreen to hide behind the inertia of having too many planners who have been groomed for Pacesetter and yet have no actual influence to drive forward the most simple changes which could make a big difference to the taxpayer!

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    7. Problem solve? I solved a problem for a tax payer today by using my initiative and communicating with my colleagues in another department who had being trying to help that taxpayer but had been frustrated by the lack of communication from another of our departments for just a simple update of that taxpayers records! Done securely on both sides as required by our charter and with due diligence and also with honour that both of us could make a difference! Problem solved? This would not have been done if we had stuck to pacesetter escalation. Get real! You, are either obviously so far removed from dealing with taxpayers as a Pacesetter Champion or you are an Agent Provacateur! Either way, your posting sucks!

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  9. There are many intelligent, honest staff members working on Pacesetter. It has always been the premier ambition of intelligent staff to get "out of the network". Project work, regional posts, training etc etc. Because the "network" - ie dealing with actual taxpayers - is a pretty crappy place to be, in HMRC career terms.

    You can tell that these same staff members are honest - if you get them on their own, out of earshot of others - they will freely admit that Pacesetter is total and absolute bollocks.

    Pacesetter - it's what happens when you eat soup with a fork.........

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  10. Many thanks for the replies.

    Pacesetter is something that has been mentioned many times on here and to be honest, I didn't know what it was; now I feel I have some idea.

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  11. Pacesetter is the result of generations of Daily Mail readers insisting we pen pushers have it too easy. In response the Government introduced Pacesetter.

    It means my performance is more sternly and rigidly managed than the majority of my friends in the private sector (much to their delight when I go into the specifics haha).

    Obviously I'm being whimsical here and there's legitimate arguments on both sides.

    Also Ken - congratulations on the ever increasing prominence of this blog. Week in week out I now have this thrown in my face by individuals who deliberately chose not to pay NI for 6 years, or couldn't pay SA tax on their PROFITS because they need to budget for holidays etc.

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  12. Unfortunately though (for all the Pacesetter/Naysayers) across ALL depts, productivity has increased significantly year by year since it's introduction.

    I'm sure Ken a simple FOI request would clarify this, rather than an observation that is 'seemingly' apparent. Unless you want to share your source?

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure there's a spreadsheet somewhere which proves it.......Only.........HMRC stats are completely corrupt.They are tailored to prove whatever the Powers that Be want to prove,at any particular point. And usually explained as "improvements" in how we record things......

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    2. Stats gathered and manipulated by Pacesetter practicioners prove Pacesetter works -lolz.

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  13. Pacesetter was supposed to be all about getting rid of waste and making things more efficient but in reality it's creating as much waste as its saving, Things are being done simply because Pacesetter says that's what has to be done. It's may have started out as a good idea but sadly it's lost its way. How many people are now employed to role out and maintain Pacesetter. Would these people not be better employed doing real work i.e tax work. If less time was spent on gathering stats and more time spent on the core processes, everyone would be better off. Surely the whole point of HMRC is to Assess and Collect the right amount of tax from all taxpayers. It's common sense but sadly senior management has lost sight of this and no one has the balls to tell them otherwise. Most staff are just waiting for someone to come along with another wonderful solution and then it's bye bye pacesetter and hello to the new crap. I'm a Front Line Manager and I'm just hoping that i can retire early as i can't take much more of this crap.

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    1. we do have the balls to tell them as we do it on a daily basis but they wont listen it was their idea and no one can tell them otherwise load of bigoted people in positions they should not be in. The civil service is stuck in the olden days the management bleat on about team work but there is no I in team that is something that seems to be over looked when it comes to pacesetter or anything in the civil service for that matter

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  14. Pacesetter=Corporate Bullshit ;)

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  15. And who does the work whilst these Pacesetter Meetings take place - HMRC staff don't have time to work AND attend meetings, so what or who suffers - correct - the lower grades who TRY to work for HMRC and of course taxpayers!

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  16. Pacesetter, which is only HMRC's name for LEAN, has been proved to be a total waste of space for service industries...it's a factory floor methodology (building cars, notably). One of the many failings, It standardises workflow, thereby reducing the essential variability that service industries' require. Call centres, press 1 for crap, press 2 for different crap, for example, diminish that variability. Then, "Failure Demand" increases drastically, which is a "waste" that these dumb methodologies refuse to acknowledge or even recognise. Failure Demand is where you have to contact them because they've fucked up and not done it right in the first place.

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    1. Forgot to add the key summary here - rather than reducing costs, this Failure Demand drastically increases costs - not to mention however much the pseudo consultants (known as ToolHeads) are getting paid.

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  17. Just shows what happens when people who don't know anything about PaceSetter try to blame all of HMRC's failings on it.

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    1. No one here is blaming 'all' of HMRCs failings on Pacesetter. I think reading through the comments people are trying to convey is what a total waste of time & resource it is with no proven success (to put it more politely) I left HMRC in the early days of the roll out of this nonsense as I could see what I can only describe as morons going along with it thinking its great. I now work in a different Government department who wouldn't dream of dabbling with such ridiculous processes. We like to use common sense and treat people like adults in my area, unlike the fascist regime of pacesetter. Morale is on its arse, people are stabbing each other in the back & time & money is being wasted with the likes of Pacesetter practitioners. 'If you don't like it leave' I often heard. I did leave & still don't like it!

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