Friday 17 October 2014

Homer's Message To Staff - You're Fired!

As I noted on Saturday, yesterday HMRC made a significant announcement about office closures etc.

The "success" of the restructuring depends on the successful automation ("digital transformation" to use a well worn phrase) of HMRC's processes, if this fails then HMRC will be in the shit.

My thanks to a loyal reader who forwarded me a copy of Lin Homer's message to HMRC staff:

Message from Lin Homer: Workforce changes 

16 October 2014

This morning, we talked to colleagues across HMRC about some important changes we need to make, and what this means for them.

Our first priority has been to ensure that the people who are affected heard from us directly. Now we know that has happened, I want to tell you about what we’re planning, and what will happen next.

As you know, as a Department we are becoming smaller and are increasingly concentrating our work on large sites in the UK’s urban centres.

We are also changing the way we do that work, with far greater emphasis on automation and digital services.

The announcements we’re making today reflect that transformation. We are being, and will continue to be, open and honest about our thinking, and what the future is likely to hold.

There is a lot to share, so I’m going to take each announcement in turn. Q&As are available through links at the end of this message.

1. Consultation on closure dates for 14 offices

Last November, we explained that 14 of our offices did not feature in our medium to long-term plans, and that it was likely that all 14 would close.

On 5 June this year we launched a two-month consultation on proposed closure dates for these offices. We considered all of the information very carefully, and we want to thank everyone who responded. Although we recognise the impact on individuals working in these offices, none of the responses suggested that changing the date of closure would reduce that impact.

As a result, we have decided to close all 14 of the offices on the dates originally planned. This means that 453 people will join the redeployment pool now, and we will do our best to help them to find new roles. However, we have also made it clear that we believe opportunities will be limited, and so in January we will declare those who have not found new roles surplus, and invite them to apply for voluntary redundancy.

2. People working in AA roles in PT Operations

We have made enormous changes to the way in which we deliver our online and digital services in recent years. As a result, there has been a huge reduction in the work traditionally done by people working at AA grade, especially in the areas of PAYE and Self Assessment.

We are also, as you probably know, looking to make major reductions in the amount of post we send out and receive. In July this year, we started scanning mail that comes into PT Operations, removing the need to sort, catalogue and redirect it by hand.

By the end of this year, we plan to have completed the roll-out of mail scanning to cover all PT Operations post, unless it isn’t suitable for digitisation – more detail on what we plan to do with that post can be found below.

Because of these changes, we are now inviting approximately 690 people working at AA grade in PT Operations roles to consider applying for a voluntary exit.

3. ESS Regional Post Rooms

The transformation of the way we handle post also means change for our people in Regional Post Rooms.

Back in June, we announced the closure of our Cardiff and Bootle Regional Post Rooms and invited the 85 people at AA grade there to apply for voluntary redundancy. We said at that time that it was likely that the remaining three post rooms would also close.

Today, we are confirming the closure of the Regional Post Rooms in Cumbernauld, Shipley and Newcastle, on 31 March 2015.

In Cumbernauld and Shipley, we are placing eight people working at O and AO grade in both post rooms into the redeployment pool; again, we will do our best to find them new roles. We think that the chances of finding new roles for the 46 AA grade people working there are more limited, so we are inviting them to apply for voluntary redundancy.

In Newcastle, we will be opening a new Central Mail Unit on the site of the former post room in Benton Park View. This new unit will deal with all of the post received across HMRC that isn’t suitable for scanning, and will also handle outgoing mail until the introduction of our new Centralised Print Service. We’re planning to use the expertise of the staff in the current post room, who will all transfer into the new unit.

4. Wellesley House, Stockport

Earlier this year, we were given notice by DWP to vacate Wellesley House, Stockport by the end of March 2015. Since then, we have looked at where we need to be based in that area, and have done everything we can to find new locations for the 107 people working there.

Forty people who are outside of Reasonable Daily Travel of other locations are still looking for new roles. We will keep trying to redeploy them, but we are also inviting them all to apply for a voluntary exit package.

5. Redeployment pool review

As I said above, we do everything we can to find suitable new roles for people whose work is reducing or coming to an end. However, as HMRC gets smaller, this is getting harder.

We review the redeployment pool regularly throughout the year and identify people who cannot be easily redeployed. We will be contacting people who we believe will find it difficult to obtain new roles by the end of this month, and inviting them to apply for either a voluntary exit or voluntary redundancy.

6. Wingfield House, Portsmouth

Since 2012, we’ve been clear that we plan to close Wingfield House, Portsmouth, by 31 March 2015. This is because we thought that all HMRC people working in Portsmouth would be able to fit into Lynx House by that date.

We now know that the figures have changed, so we’ve decided to close five floors of Wingfield House and transfer 300 people to Lynx House by 30 October 2015. We’re keeping on two floors in Wingfield House, so 100 people will stay there for the time being.

Next steps

As I said above, I know that these announcements mean that some of our colleagues are facing challenging and important choices.

I want to make it very clear that the decisions are not a reflection on them or the quality of their work: I am grateful to all of them for their hard work and their commitment to HMRC and our customers.

We are committed to treating everyone affected sensitively and fairly, and will give them as much support as we can to ensure they can make informed decisions about their futures. Where people want to try to find a new role in HMRC, we will give them priority status for suitable vacancies through the redeployment pool. For people whose type of work is reducing or coming to an end, we are inviting them to apply for either voluntary exit or voluntary redundancy, with a good compensation package. We will also provide practical support and advice on finding a new role outside HMRC.

I recognise that these are not easy messages, but each one is part of the overall transformation of HMRC – into a Department able to cope with the demands facing us in the future.

Thank you.

Lin Homer

Chief Executive

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  1. "However, we have also made it clear that we believe opportunities will be limited, and so in January we will declare those who have not found new roles surplus, and invite them to apply for voluntary redundancy."

    Hardly "voluntary"!

  2. Thank God I am out, they lie and lie, they tell people in PT Ops in January to apply for VE or go in redeployment pool a week after the Enq Centres closed these people were told to apply for redundancy.

    The whole department is a complete sham but congratulations to Lin on achieving her £20,000 bonus a £10 per voluntary redundancy now doubt.

    Anyone reading this from HMRC get out if you can it's much more relaxing in the real world, take the money and run.

  3. This woman is satan personified...I really don't know how she can sleep at night, a complete waste of oxygen.

  4. I feel sory for those at AA/AO grade who busted their assess to help others, inside and as best as they could tax payers on the outside.

    Shit on from a great height by a bunch of twats.

  5. The so called auto processes don't work, do nothing other than cause havoc, I spend my day taking calls from taxpayers where the process has split allowances between employments, set up 2nd sources and issued BR codes, or added ceased employment earnings to current earnings and issued D0 codes in error.
    It also has a nasty habit of issuing codes on a cumulative basis when week 1 month 1 code should be operated, it's a fuggin joke

  6. Feel sorry for the AA's, they were hard working types who knew when to nod and smile and have a quiet chuckle at the expense of the Lean twits and useless management types that previously were doing feck all in the IR and then got promoted in hmrc.
    So its thank you from Homer for holding the collapsing mess together at the work face, now feck off on mandatory voluntary retirement.
    take them to court on a class action, make the PCS earn it's subscriptions and get off its collective are. If they won't then go to the TUC and your MP's en masse!
    The whole thing is a disgrace and your employer needs to be challenged publicly. ACAS may be a good staring point, but get yourselves joined up together.

  7. Say not getting rid of AA grade but thats what they are doing. None of the systems work properly and post is stacking up again. What do they do- get rid of more staff. Meltdown looms but homer will still get her 'justifiable' fatcat bonus. Wanker.
    Run by fuckwits. Homer probably quaffing champers somewhere laughing at us and our lack of pay with ruth owen - another overpaid twat who blogs about how often shes been boozing every week.
    They should trim staff at the top not the hard working AA grade.

    1. Hard working AA grade! AA's are the laziest bunch of twits imaginable, they wouldn't know a hard day's work if it hit them across the head

    2. Must disagree old fruit, found the HO/"team leader" breed to be the most useless, especially, but not totally, the previous I clerical promoted into such positions. Last one I had was so inept an O grade did most of the HO work. Eventually the SO worked out what was happening when stats showed O grade output of team was almost a staff year down and questions were being asked. But that's remote management for you,
      What I saw of the AA grade was virtually the proverbial lions led by donkeys and lean ineptitude having to work beneath a barrage of top-down bullshite and bullying.

    3. What grade are you because AO's sat around lauding it up that they didn't have to do filing anymore but laughed at the O managers who ran the section. The O grades moaned when they had to do stuff and weren't paid enough but were happy to sit around and direct there work to AO's when they couldn't be bothered doing it.

    4. Worked in the real world, most of the time with 1, 2 and at times 2 1/2 gold stripes. Arrested criminals as an AO and EO or O, but then along came HMRC and crap former IR management nerds who had never dealt ftf with reality let alone armed "customers", and the rest as they say is history!
      Lala Land and P.C. gone mad, and nothing but a mess from the borders to the treasury as a result.
      The majority of good former IR staff were, and still are the clericals not those that are managers.

    5. "and the rest as they say is history"

      OK, but what did these nerds do wrong? You say they weren't experienced and they were crap, and the result was a mess, but what were the key decisions/actions their inexperience led them to take that created the mess*?

      I know I have a certain reputation hereabouts, but I'm genuinely trying to understand your point of view, rather than challenge it.


      Stew G

      * - obviously, to the extent you can write about it while preserving your anonymity.

    6. Reputation notwithstanding, good query.

      I may have rolled 2 distinct issues into 1, so taking the issue of crap management;
      Covering up same,
      Handling grievance procedures and appeals within same business silo,
      Breaking civil & criminal laws,
      Failing to handle allegations of the same ethically, morally and legally,
      Ineptitude when dealing with potential postal security issues,
      Rediculous "fairy liquid" issue,
      Forcing staff to attend work in heavy snow when authorities were warning people to stay home,
      It's all been reported here previously.
      wrt border to treasury issue, HMRC lost the plot totally on previous Customs work areas relating to various Customs and Excise duties and it is generally regarded as not very effective against organised crime across its responsibilities.
      Biased, yep, based on experience, you betcha!
      Answer - get some decent bloody management, seemples, peeples, and the staff deserve it.

    7. Are you in CITEX? I found the managers of a better standard there. Former IR are useless.

    8. Ain't that the truth. There were worse though, former C&E investigators!
      One, who shall remain nameless but could be identified by being vertically challenged, same measurement in height as round waist and wobbly gait was such an obnoxious tw@t and left a trail of damaged souls and transferees or resignations across both departments, in fact, this individual was never supposed to have managed staff again following the severity of mass grievances against individual when in C&E! But then if you are in Cited, you may have seen individual at work around the edges. Used to throw so much cap around the offices it was like working on a dairy farm at times. Comeuppance allegedly was individuals leaving do was in a telephone kiosk and the collection was an IOU! ROFL ;)
      It was termed "robust management" but grievances proved otherwise, the big questions still remain though, how could it carry on for so long, and what was this individual doing as a manager in the criminal justice area of work ffs?!

  8. It can't really be that bad. if it was the customers would have seen a deterioration in service.

  9. Service levels at an all time high, customers speak highly of the service and ease of contact and speed of outcomes, especially when paying out money to the customer base. Staff engagement at levels only dreamt about in OGD's and private sector and a fantastic lean driven organisation that is held in great esteem worldwide.
    Pig's fuelled and ready for take off!
    I am relieved to be out of there, I have rarely seen such inept management in 4 decades of public service, the management are pathetic and certainly do not deserve the staff that have been struggling to provide a decent service since the creature was
    Homer and her predecessor have exhibited everything that typifies modern public service management, not sure what the answer is, but I hope that whatever political party has to sort out the mess does so properly and speedily.
    We can hope!

  10. 19.28 I hope your comment was ironic, if not try & contact someone within HMRC with a tax query & see if you can get to speak to anyone, or if your write to get a reply withing 3 weeks, or even at all.

  11. The trouble with centrally imposed "efficiencies" and reduction of bums on seats is ironically an increase in costs to the taxpayer combined with a reduction in service caused by volume related contracts e.g. call centres or post handling. Concentration on statistical throughput leads to less overall service, called customer satisfaction in the real world.
    Of course, if there was anyone in HMRC capable of putting together an effective contract things might not have been as bad as they are.
    Staff costs pale into insignificance when you compare them to the billions wasted on IT, Lean, and the results of quaffing from the claret jug.
    BTW, what was the connection between Hartnett and Ken Dodd?
    They were both comedians!

  12. Well Ken Dodd was a tax dodger.....

  13. ...and Hartnett was helping big business dodge tax so maybe that's the connection.

  14. Yes, but he failed to get the prosecution against Ken Dodd home!

  15. My partner works in a HMRC contact centre and a member of staff who boasts about surfing eBay when talking to customers and tells customers she has no systems when its her home time (even if they've been waiting for 30 minutes or more to get through) has just got a promotion. And they have the gall to ask about staff engagement LOL

  16. My ex manager used to run a jewelery business from her HMRC computer she has been promoted at least twice since she also used to sit looking at fashion sites while the EC was open.

    I thought EBay would have been filtered or was it on her own device?

  17. Now we have to contend with applying for tickets to the London Rememberence Service as "she" is attending as are TV cameras. BeT I won't get allocated a ticket. Also the hall is being repainted whilst essential maintenance on the building is left (like till falling off of high walls). Who ordered that to be done? It all smells of "Look at me" again........

    1. It's The Emperors New Clothes repeat performance again, scratch the surface as all that glistens is not gold. Beggars belief yet again, but, no-one gives a flying **** about it in government or elsewhere.
      Perhaps the lick of paint relates to the fly on the wall series?

  18. HMRC's powers should be limited and should be subject to reasonable challenge in the courts.
    The public interest should be served by ensuring that HMRC is accountable and not the sole arbiter of the law this should override their current powers that are abused, exceeded and delayed unnecessarily.
    The dog should be corrected, disciplined, and put on a far shorter leash.
    Myself and my company over 100 Days ago were put into a period of incredible uncertainty and immense pressure, and despite not having being charged with any offence to date this continues.
    I was arrested on 1st August 2014 and bailed to reappear in THREE Months, I was due to report to the Police station on 3rd November, this was postponed on the 25th October for a further THREE Months to report on the 4th February 2015. That’ll be 180 Days that H.M.R.C. have been investigating my situation, during which time ZERO evidence and ZERO charges have been forthcoming.
    At the time of arrest my Vehicle, company records, back up disks, lap top, mobile phone and other items crucial to the day to day running of my business were seized. These items are still being retained by H.M.R.C.
    I have struggled to continue the day to day running of my company since 1st August, my costs incurred have been considerable and are continuing to rise, once H.M.R.C. have finished their slow, inefficient, nazi style process, I will be seeking FULL costs AND compensation which fully reflects the inconvenience I have been subjected to by H.M.R.C.

    Management and staff at this company have cooperated 100% from the outset with H.M.R.C. we are committed to continue to offer them our full support so that they can dispense with their investigation at the earliest time, unfortunately H.M.R.C. do not seem to understand the situation I am in and they continue to demonstrate a total lack of urgency in the matter, bordering on contempt.
    H.M.R.C. are treating me as GUILTY until they cannot prove me guilty.
    INNOCENT until proved guilty
    The company continues to trade despite all the above, and I hope this government has someone in it that has the balls to confront the H.M.R.C. and solve issues raised in this letter.

  19. looks like joe public is as brassed off as the people who work for HMRC!!!
    WE don't deserve this treatment.... AND neither do you! there's a lot of idiots getting rich and fat off the backs of YOU!!