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, 17 July 2014

HMRC's 2020 Vision - Building Our Future Feedback

My thanks to a loyal reader, who has given me some feedback on what HMRC staff think about the series of events/presentations by HMRC entitled "Building Our Future".

In short, HMRC staff who have attended "Building Our Future" are somewhat underwhelmed.

Staff are herded into a room on the third floor of Chelsea Stadium, and then endure a 30 minute registration process.

A PowerPoint presentation is then given about the possible benefits of a digital HMRC. After which a facilitator then attempts to stimulate a discussion, then a director comes around each table giving lectures and advice.

Seemingly staff have come back from the event very angry, saying it's a waste of time.

I welcome further feedback about this.

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  1. 'What does building your future mean to you & your team?' 'What are the main challenges both for you and HMRC and how can we overcome them?'

    These were the questions ten of us from different offices, business streams and grades had to discuss with a facilitator on a round table. This was after a grade 7 who liked the sound of his own voice had droned on for 30 mins. People from one business steam had no idea what the others were on about on whileseated at the same table and vice versa. What an insult to the many people in the room who rightly or wrongly think they will soon have no job.

    No power point presentation for us, or personal visits to the tables.

    Everybody signed and checked in, I am still trying to work out what was the point of it all. I think down the road, they just want to say, well you had your chance, you were consulted, when of course we weren't really. One question allowed per bewildered and mismatched team of strangers. How did I feel at the end of it? 1) baffled 2) Wondering how much it all has cost 3) wondering if anyone at all got anything out of it, I sure didn't.

  2. I'm off to Chelsea today to build something or other. I refused two invitations, but then attendance turned up as one of the Must Do's in my Performance Agreement for 2014-15, so I relocated this chore to the Just Do It category of obligations. No-one I have spoken to has returned from one of these events the least bit enlightened or reconciled to the way HMRC is treating its staff at the moment. They seem to think that the effects of introducing an arbitrary and appallingly badly implemented performance system can be dispelled by a little cheer-leading down at Stamford Bridge.

  3. So, yet another compulsory item for the performance "agreement"? Reading between the lines, this series of propaganda events will enable them to claim they have engaged with the whole work force, job done, box ticked, move on.

    Things must be bad with so many staff posting their experiences on here. It is a "Stasi" type of approach from hmrc and one of its effects appears to have been to alienate many more staff than usual. If this is an example of building anything by hmrc it is doomed from the cutting of the first sod for the foundations.

    Politicians must investigate how out of control this department has become, it is not fit for purpose and needs sorting out, rapidly.

  4. I lifted this from a colleague who posted this on a union forum;
    So far as the press-gang aspect goes, that was being VERY clearly communicated in our area, with an email from the SCS saying:

    " clear with your team members please that attendance is a three line whip.....only in truly exceptional circumstances will it be ok for someone to miss an event completely.....Where you choose to agree to non-attendance by a team member I shall be grateful if you will please let me know the reasons – before the event – and the way in which you will ensure that the message is properly communicated. I expect to receive very, very few such messages."
    Does this not say it all

  5. The event talks about a "national conversation", that not everything about future plans is decided and giving us chance to feed back our views. However, it is not clear (and could not be clarified) what the potential nature of that input could be or in what areas. The answer is: none. The aim is that we will be gathered together again (at huge cost) at periodic intervals and updated. The material provided at the events gives an impression of great opportunities, but the truth is that the workforce will shrink drastically and work from fewer locations. There are lots of comments addressing those who do not want to come on this exciting journey. And the pay, pensions and performance management situations (source of much demoralisation) are givens, not up for discussion.

    Things are very bad. I see many gloating comments about civil servants having had it cushy and now being faced with the real world, as though people want to take revenge for having to pay tax, but we want to do a good job for a fair reward and many of us could earn far more in the private sector. Very many civil servants barely make a living wage. When the Civil Service is damaged beyond repair, gloating won't be much recompense.

    We are paid to be questioning and analytical, but then expected to be gullible when it comes to our own employment circumstances.

  6. As most sensible staff have already surmised, these events are purely a box-ticking exercise so that further down the line HMRC senior management can claim that staff were directly involved in decision-making.

    The reality is that I sat next to the moderator on our table and very carefully watched the notes she was taking. Whenever someone made a comment about frozen pay, decimated pensions, rapidly worsening terms and conditions, the ruinous PMR system, or any of the myriad other issues that are directly affecting staff morale and, by extension, the quality of our service, her pen stayed resolutely on the table.

    Quite simply, they're not interested in the real issues that are affecting staff. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no appetite at the top table to increase staff morale - we're being treated like cattle. The unspoken mantra seems to be, "If you don't like it, you know where the door is."

    What a way to treat hard-working people who have given decades of their life over to public service.

    1. Very well said. I urge you to report this on the union forum. See you there. We are of course powerless. I was thinking of reporting back to the external tax advisors who gave me such good feedback as to what HMRC management made of it i.e. a Must Improve marking. I know of good, hard-working staff who have been marked down for some quirk of character (to fill the 10% quota of Must Improves) and are sick, on anti-depressants, or gone, either into retirement or to the advisory profession. If we just get bashed externally as well, HMRC will only get Shiter. I see the Telegraph's "comments" below the report on Lin Homer's bonus have to some extent taken that line. Yes, it's so cushy in HMRC. Want to swap?

    2. If Karma really works then within HMRC it is going to be working overtime for a decade or so to catch up.
      Treating loyal staff with such utter contempt as illustrated by the report of the non moving pen is only to be expected from these management misfits.

  7. HMRC, along with DfT have the worst stress levels in the civil service and the common denominator (as opposed to common purpose!) is Links Homer, who, backed by Gus O'Donnel, was/is CO of both departments.

    This has previously been reported and Politicians are aware but for some unfathomable reason are mute?!

    I left in disgust having been off for so long I had exhausted all salary and sickness benefits ending up on ESA, glad I retired after 40 yr but because, it was before I was 60 I lost a years pension and lump sum consideration - despite 40 years on the clock!

    Wild horses would not get me back under that regime, and to learn that the work that they dropped when my team was disbanded is now being reinstated as a great new idea proves one simple point - the management are fecking useless. Oh, and the reason it is coming back - outside pressure, nowt to do with innovative thinking or acceptance that they got it wrong, they have to do it because of the pressure from outside partners. Pity the senior manager responsible was not as good as his word at the time when he promised to fall on his sword if it proved that he got the decision wrong. He knows who he is and his own management warned him ahead of the decision.
    There we are then...