Tuesday 8 November 2016

HMRC Rigs Staff Survey

In news that will not surprise any loyal reader of this site, The Sunday Herald reports that HMRC has rigged its staff survey.

HMRC is under fire for putting pressure on employees to score the organisation highly in its internal staff survey.

A manager at HMRC linked good marks to future investment at his office, while the head of the tax avoidance unit urged colleagues against using the survey as a “protest vote”.

Emails obtained by the Sunday Herald reveal managers have been encouraging staff to grade HMRC positively, in contrast to previous surveys.

A senior manager in Dundee emailed his colleagues last month:
I really need your support to not only encourage colleagues to complete the survey but to also promote the reasons why completion and scoring highly are important.”
He also explicitly linked the results to future resources at the site:
Senior leaders will use the results to judge how engaged we are and this can play a part when looking at investment in terms of resources and new work – selecting highly-engaged sites for new opportunities would suggest the greatest chance for success.”
Dave Richardson, the director of HMRC’s counter-avoidance directorate, also contacted staff last month:
I know it can be tempting to use the Survey as a protest vote. But to be able to respond to your concerns, and ensure that your successes and commitment are recognised, it is most helpful to me in representing Counter-Avoidance if you use the range of scores, without over- or under-egging.

For instance, most people in Counter-Avoidance go the extra mile. But in last year's survey less than 30 per cent of people said that they were inspired to do their best in their job, or were motivated to help achieve the Department's objectives."
In another email, a staff member alleged that team leaders had been told to use chocolates as an inducement when employees filled out the survey.

A spokesperson for HMRC said:
"Workforce planning and our future locations are categorically not determined or even influenced by feedback from our People Survey. We want our staff to be completely open and honest in their responses and anything that suggests otherwise is wrong”.
Given that previous surveys have put HMRC at the bottom of the pile, the fact that they were rigged makes this even more pathetic!

If you are going to rig a vote, at least make sure you come out on top!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance 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 Solar Tax Investigation Insurance

HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"


  1. The rigging of any result could be described as corrupt to the man or woman on the street. Such attempts are pathetic, but should also be a matter of great concern given the track record of the HMRC.

    As many know, HMRC run a brutal regime internally, they do not like honesty & uncomfortable truths and dissent is crushed by whatever means.

    How disgusting that they would imply that results would be linked to future 'workforce planning' i.e. office closures and redundancies. Its no way to run a public institution.

    If the reported comments are accurate, and it seems a credible source, then it raises the question of whether we are looking at a case of misconduct and misuse of public funds (it does cost the taxpayers to run the 'surveys' obviously). As to where, and who, we would complain to I do not know?

    Great credit should go to the newspaper for running this public interest story, we can only hope that its picked up by others in the mainstream media.

  2. If they rig a survey, you wonder what they're up to with peoples tax affairs. A shower of shits. The police should be called in.

  3. Following the merger and creation of HMRC a decade ago, the rulers within the place have behaved as though its an authoritarian communist dictatorship. This is no surprise.

    1. It is their 'authoritarian' dishonest & dictatorial methods which have resulted in them becoming a cruel organisation to the public and staff alike - unfit even to carry out the basic duties they are tasked with.

    2. The above is very true and may help explain why PCS Union don't stand up to Hmrc, and have as a fact even be known to work in cahoots with Hmrc management to stitch up their own members. If PCS were a regular business it would feel like fraud by false representation.

    3. RE: anonymous 8/11 19:17

      Beware of Trade Unions and in particular PCS is all I can say. They exist to take money from your pockets not to represent individual members. Forget their left wing rhetoric - public sector unions tend to be on the side of public sector employers whatever wrong they have done. Its a game which members pay for.

    4. I really cannot understand why people stay with the PCS. What do they think their money is being used for? And how much support do they think the union is going to provide that they couldn't adequately do for themselves? (Strength in numbers? How well has THAT worked in the last twenty years?)
      Leaving the PCS was the second best thing I did in my career - next to leaving the shit-storm that is HMRC at the first available opportunity.

    5. "Leaving the PCS was the second best thing I did in my career".....why was that?
      Is it simply because it saved you a few quid a month ?
      I have to admit that the PCS is pretty useless but then again it's all we have got.....i harp back to the old smaller IRSF union.

    6. The best way to think of PCS is that they are 'actors' - yes they produce left wing magazines, get behind Corbyn and whatever the latest leftie obsession is, and ACT very militant. The reality is when there is a genuine and SERIOUS problem they are ill-informed and weak at best, or running for the hills or helping HMRC stitch you up at worst. A disgraceful organisation, second only to Hmrc.

      When Hmrc come targeting you with their abusive and/or unlawful ways PCS Union are about effective as a chocolate fireguard.

      PCS Union are not "all you have". You have yourself. PCS can not do a single thing that the average person couldn't adequately do themselves.

      Its left wing theatre, which members pay for, and which enables lay officials to get out of doing real work and provides paid jobs for full time PCS officers. They do not care about your employment or human rights in the workplace, if after seriously thinking about it one still thinks they do, then obviously they are rather good at the acting business.

    7. I paid PCS Union subs for a number of years. When I wanted to complain about the misconduct, abuse and dishonesty of an HMRC manager, PCS did their pathetic best to suppress the facts from ever seeing the light of day. When I then complained to PCS hq about the rep's malpractice they too then tried to cover up the misconduct of the PCS rep. When PCS were challenged over this they then got all emotional and resorted to aggression. What does that tell you about PCS. They are not worthy of your money for a start.

    8. It's amazing how the PCS reps find the energy reserves when they realise that membership is falling and that their existence in a building may be curtailed due to the numbers falling under a threshold level.
      They ain't so plucky when members need advice - particularly the sizeable number of sycophants among them who are in the 'clique', matey,matey with the high ups, favors in return and all that. There are one or two that are OK, but they can't represent all so you either wait, hire a wet lettuce, or stand by yourself.
      First thing you need to do is find out about the manager(s) who your issue is with and ensure that you don't use a rep who is buddyish with them.With all the backscratching that goes on that can be difficult.
      Secondly, a rep who has no ambitions to climb the ladder - they will be the ones who don't run around volunteering for daft projects, putting coloured drawings on walls, and taking all the freebie trips away while working on these projects.
      These characters do not realise that a union is not a vehicle for promotion which they see and use it as.
      There was plenty wrong with what the unions did in the 70's but by God there was real bitterness and hatred to the other side, wishing ill on them and all that.
      Unfortunately, if you are paying your subs and have been for a long time then it is not unreasonable to expect a rep with some of these traits to advise/ represent when you are under the cosh for no justifiable reason.

    9. The above is a very balanced and reasoned view of the state of PCS Union membership.

      If membership is falling it could be because their views are out of sync with the views of much of the modern world, including some of the membership.

      At the end of the day unions, believe or not, were formed to fight for workers rights and pay. If they can't even be bothered to help members in personal cases where members they are being hounded by a bullying, dishonest and out of control HMRC management, then there is no point to them and as more people realise they risk going out of 'business' - which would mean no more 6 figure salaries for the politicians at the top of PCS.

      When I dealt with PCS legal department they made no attempt to conceal their lack of care or their anger that a pesky member had dared to complain. There is no longer a 'wall' between unions and the management (the senior ones), they are an elite all in it together and would recommend nobody waste their hard earned cash on PCS membership. A total sham.

    10. If PCS union were in any way effective:
      1) why is bullying out of control in HMRC?
      2) how have HMRC been allowed to hound out and make redundant thousands of staff and close hundreds of offices without an effective, robust and intelligent opposition and alternative?

      Questions PCS Union would fail to answer. PCS seem to be part of the problem.

  4. According to the report chocolates were used as an 'inducement' to complete the survey! You couldn't make it up, next you'll hear they are allowed to play bingo in official taxpayer funded time...

  5. "Workforce planning and our future locations are categorically not determined or even influenced by feedback from our People Survey.

    Now, I can actually believe this statement; after all, they take no notice of anything else we tell them.

    1. The article is very accurate. Last year we were 'encouraged' to attend a meeting with our S.O who urged us to complete the survey and be positive.The S.O added that if the results showed trends whereby our office was collectively negative and gloomy, then when it came to closures we would be near the top of the list.

    2. If this issue, brilliantly exposed by the Sunday Herald, were treated with proper seriousness and seen in its full context then what we have here is threats to staff by management in order to influence the outcome of a survey upon which key public service and public spending decisions will then be made. It can not be right and at a quick glance seems a wee bit dodgy. I think the public need to see HMRC investigated over this to be reassured this is all above board.

    3. This particular S.O is not one of the vindictive types,( a trait common with HMRC staff who have a bit of power) - he/she shrugged and said something similar to, ' Look, I plan to be out of here in five years, it will not make any difference to me but it might to you'
      The overall view was that he/she was telling the truth or at least believed he/she was.The only doubt I had about his/her judgement was that he/she seemed to be genuine enthusiast for the ridiculous Pacesetter nonsense which blinds the gullible and stupid.

    4. I have to add that the other type of Pacesetter activist is the false disciple. The crafty individuals who have spotted that it is their only chance of climbing the ladder, after seeing others use this codswallop to do likewise ......not for now but this is something else for the likes of the Sunday Herald to investigate. A cog in the wheel that wastes valuable time that could be spent serving the public.

    5. The progression only of enthusiasts of any management's craze will in any business lead to wrong type of person being elevated - yes people, bullies, and untalented opportunists taking their chance in return for towing the line. This leads to a sclerotic organisation, lacking in innovation and integrity where upon the rot sets in. At the same time those with morals, who are principled, with their own views and a bright open mind (who tend to be the naturally talented and hard working ones) are left demoralised with their talents going to waste. It could be described as lions being led by donkeys and if this is what happens at HMRC it explains the shoddy service we all get. - As for the rigging of results it sounds like a kind of fraud -

  6. Pacesetter/Lean is based on Toyotas manufacturing principles, as such it is never going to embed well in the public service sector no matter how many chocolates you give out or crisp boxes you use as voting boxes.
    The much maligned staff survey has morphed into an exercise in damage limitation by moulding questions to provide the desired answers. To learn that it has been rigged is no surprise, no morals, no scruples, what do you expect?

  7. Every word of this article is true...i witnessed it first hand...and even though the survey is meant to be anonymous we were "urged" to complete the survey as our group was showing up as having a very low survey completion rate....anonymous,my arse.
    Get these bastards back in the long grass !! Fuck em !!

  8. Not sure how these managers can look at themselves in the mirror. Assuming they are human enough to have a reflection.
    The alleged way that managers gather to discuss performance reviews of staff in order to fill quotas is poor management at best, at worst it is an example of abuse of 'power' and vindictive.
    What a shower of shites!

    1. Ironically, one of the few decent policies applied by HMRC in the workplace has a knock on effect of producing incidents of victimization.
      I am referring to staff who have mental health issues. None of us are immune to these afflictions which is why it is reassuring to to see workers looked after and their tasks amended accordingly where possible.
      However, a major problem occurs where these workers are put in control of other people. Many with these afflictions have an obsession with controlling individuals who are often targeted because they have taken a personal dislike to them. These individuals could themselves have problems or afflictions, or could go on to suffer mental health problems as a result of their treatment in the workplace.
      Such happenings are recurrent but are also avoidable.

    2. Anyone who has worked at HMRC would kind of recognise the above comments - some managers and colleagues who seem very disturbed bringing their outside issues into the workplace then targeting colleagues via bullying.

  9. They do alter the questions year on year to make it harder to give unequivocally negative answers. For instance, they have noted that staff generally trust their immediate managers but not bosses higher up the chain of command. So this year the questions seem more about the immediate team rather than being generic.
    That said, there are still the usual 'do you believe HMRC is a good place to work?' style questions - and the answer is the usual "Hell, no!"

    1. The survey is all tick box answers apart from one or maybe two opportunities where you can type your answer and fire the cannons.
      In the past I would estimate that there would be a slight majority of immediate managers that you could trust - and by trust I don't mean that they are soft, rather fair and treat the team equally.
      Now,for instance on my present floor, four of the seven managers are not trusted floor wide. And three are on the positively disliked to hated scale by 95% of the floor.
      There are many who have given long hard working service being treated like frothy sewerage by these managers - but who are waiting observantly to ( under the rules of course) hand them their comeuppance.

    2. HMRC really is an abusive and strange place to work - the harder you work and the longer you have served the greater the distain is from their senior managers.

    3. Maybe the subconscious awareness that anyone with half a brain gets the hell out of that sick, dysfunctional cesspit of a workplace as soon as they are able? Hence the longer you're there, the more worthy of disdain you become? Just wondering.

    4. It's very random who the aforementioned 'immediate managers' take a dislike to in HMRC (although often its those of whom they are professionally jealous and/or feel threatened by) and who feel the brunt of their dysfunctional & disturbed outlook on life.

      As for the more senior managers, they could not care less about the 'shop floor' staff, they really could not; they make positive sounding noises about equality, diversity etc etc, but actions speak louder than words and to them such staff are merely 'resources' and senior management (by their behaviour) treat them as though they're something on the bottom of their shoes. So yes there could be some logic in the above comment.

  10. Once again Ken, this is clearly bollocks. It's been in public domain since last year that the only future locations in Scotland will be Glasgow, Edinburgh and Gartcosh. New work/resource requirements for Dundee are highly unlikely. Keep collecting your ad revenue though.

    1. Oh, that makes everything OK, must be all in the imagination then.
      Nothing to see hear, move along.
      There We Are Then

  11. Beware of surveys , polls etc. A waste of time as the people give the answers they are supposed to and not their true beliefs. Trump and Brexit spring to mind.

    1. I gave my full view-some pages of views. Could not think of anything positive to say. However, I am worried that the hundress of graduate recruits who say they think the job is "relaxed" will sway things. They will find its not at all relaxed soon enough.

    2. Any newbie at HMRC who thinks its 'relaxed' will soon enough discover how the regime operates. It is an organisation full of contradictions - rather than focussing on their core business which I believe to be Tax, they instead obsess about the theory of things such as Diversity, Equality and Inclusion but in practice they are intolerant, brutal bullies. Sadly hard working people who practice decency and morals day to day are not welcome in HMRC.

    3. They are very cunning. Pretend to have our welfare in mind by running courses with eye-catching names like 'Workplace Wellness'
      I attended one of these courses recently and the lady running the course (who was from outside the business) was candid enough to tell us that she thought they were turning the screw on us to make it so stressful that we would walk away without being pushed. This all fits in nicely with all these new recruits being hired on temporary contracts so they can treat them with disdain.

    4. HMRC running workplace wellness courses? They know nothing about wellness, it sounds like a ruse to disguise they're real methods. How anyone with any morals or beliefs can behave like that and then sleep at night is beyond my comprehension.

      Whenever I have to deal with that mob as a taxpayer I know to record every conversation as they simply cannot be trusted not to tell lies.

  12. 2017 Staff Survey latest :We are now being "coached" on how to fill in the survey.....we are being told that if we are going to answer negatively to a question then there are 4 other questions we must look at before deciding...if we answer "yes" to any of these then the overall question becomes positive and therefore a "yes".....you couldn't make this shit up.This survey is "voluntary"...however each manager will be asked to submit how many of thier staff took part in it for "engagement" purposes.
    I never filled in these forms but now because of these underhand tactics i will...just to stick it up them....they are a shower of bastards !!!

    1. "coached" = sir/madam, what you are being asked to do by your corrupt employer is misconduct.

    2. Yep.....and they don't give a fuck...this place is run by evil clowns !!!

    3. I would never trust them especially since Jon Thompson thought it acceptable to send a fundamentally dishonest letter to a local MP - absolutely brutal gang of incompetent self serving cowards.