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.

Monday, 2 March 2009


ShameThis particular comment posted on LabourSpace comes from someone who claims to be an advisor who works for an HMRC contact centre handling tax credit issues, he/she speaks of his/her shame and the fact that the whole system is disgusting.

He/she offers some useful advice to those who need to interact with the contact centres; take the name of the person you are talking to, and do not believe them if they say they can't escalate the problem.

Source LabourSpace:

"I have been an [Tax Credit] advisor for nearly 3 years now. I am the longest serving member of my contact centre by far, the staff turn over is incredible.

I can confidantly say that on most of the calls I get, I notice an error made by a previous advisor. This frustrates me hugely. The errors made for (e.g.) income being changed to nil are basic errors but they are made by inexperienced advisors on an industrial scale.

The contact centres are a shambles.

I count myself as a very good advisor. I have made my mistakes with peoples claims in the past simply through human error but when the person whos claim I have affected calls up and puts in a complaint, I can ensure you these are taken VERY seriously and advisors are severely reprimanded if a complaint is made about them.

Basically what I am trying to say is that a lot of silly errors aren't picked up because people are not complaining about specific advisors. Take their name on EVERY CALL, take their team number and location. I feel like I am betraying my fellow advisors BUT for every good avisor like myself there are 300 brand new ones who literally, through no real fault of their own, get thrown on the phone and given the power to ruin a persons claim, however unintentionally.

Also bear in mind we as advisors have NO power when it comes to escalating issues or chasing up anything done by our head office (TCO). The only option I can suggest if you really aren't getting anywhere is to ask to speak to a manager BUT unfortunately you'd be better speaking to a child, as the managers haven't got a clue and activly avoid taking any escalations.

If an advisor says they can't pass you to a team leader straight away as there are none available do not accept this, because their manager will be sitting opposite them waving their hands in the air, as in a 'I'm not here' manner, to avoid taking a complaint call.

The whole system is disgusting.

I am ashamed to work there but feel like if I left, the few peoples claims I do manage to fix will be lost along with the rest

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. As an HMRC employee myself, this just truly speaks volumes about this shitty department.

    Trust me, I CAN believe all of what was said.

  2. Basically it is a case of to fark with the real work; so long as you keep on top of the management's spreadsheets and their insatiable desire for utterly pointless stats, that's all that matters. The blinkered management are are like parrots... find out what peanuts they like and keep feeding 'em!!!

  3. And it gets even better folks.

    I heard at a recent union meeting that the HMRC contact centre in East Kilbride even has CCTV situated by the toilets to let 'management' keep track of their staff.

    I've even heard that another of HMRC's workhouses - sorry 'contact centres', management even go around with walkie talkies to check on their staff going to the toilet.

    There's nothing better like management by fear....

  4. "And it gets even better folks"
    Well said!

    It wasn't too long ago that I mentioned the spreadsheet that was kept to record toilet visits. It seems that the spreadsheet insanity virus isn't just confined to my office.

    ..and, dear Mr Anonymous at 21:47 - you do know that the quote about peanuts is ever so slightly incorrect - but never mind, I know what you mean, and management at our office is definitely exactly like that!

  5. I myself have worked as an advisor for a Contact Centre for 3 and a half years on Tax Credits, Self Assessment and Pay as You Earn. I can speak firsthand of the shambles it really is.
    I also consider myself a damn good advisor and the original poster is correct in the reality that most calls are spent rectifying previous mistakes. This is entirely due to the huge turnover of staff they have. A member of my own team was placed on Self Assessment after literally 4 hours of training. I was placed on both Self Assessment and Pay as You Earn after 3 days of training and no previous knowledge.
    The timescales given out (of which there are very few) are a total nonsense. Basically when they tell you that there isnt a timescale it means it will take an eternity. I have seen cases sat there for upto 18 months with no action.
    Regarding the watching of employees. Basically you put yourself into a code for different situations, ie unscheduled break code the toilet. However these codes and the time and occasions spent in them over the course of a day are stricly monitored. Over 15 minutes in unscheduled break consistently in a full day will have you spoken to by a manager.
    An example of the shambles the places are, is this. Until very recently when the computers were replaced, it was taking upto 20 minutes for the computers and correct systems needed to load up in the morning. Without these systems, you couldnt do the job or help anybody. Normally, a downtime code would be used for this until you could sign on and take calls. This was stopped because it was costing the centres too much time that could have been spent on the phones (regardless of the fact we couldnt help anybody). We were told to sign on and either put people on hold for the time necessary or invite them to call back, costing them more money. All this was to manipulate the figures.

    It is literally the biggest shambles anyone could ever see.

  6. I too was a contact centre advisor and some of the comments really hit home with my experiences. The training was really focused on customer service and NOT working with the claims and basic what to and what not to do's. Also there is a protocol for every call, which they say to follow, which is unbelievably long and tedious and if followed most callers would hang up as it would take far too long.
    They defenitely have a 'Big Brother' system going on, your every action is logged onto the phones from the moment you start your shift to the finish.
    Also, team leaders focus varies. One, who fortunately I was not with for long, was competetive for the perfect length of calls. If anyone in his team went over 3 minutes more than once a day you'd have a moaning at. Needless to say we didn't particularly get on. We once debated this; I insisted it takes as long as it needs to, in some cases things are straightforward and done in seconds, others NEED to take longer to be done properly. He also said we cannot say 'anything else' at the end of the call as customers should phone about one thing. I felt this was ridiculous. I would always ensure the claim was in order e.g. if they called to update work from 16 hours to 30 I would always ask for income. Obvious it may seem but if not done it can really cause issues later.
    I saw many many mistakes by other advisors.

    However, with regards to giving your details out I'm not sure how other centres worked but we were not allowed to give our surname or where we were because of safety issues. This was told to every employee.

    I must also say while staff turnover is ridiculous, there were many advisors in the centre I worked at who'd been there for at least 2 years and about ten who'd been there for 5 years (from when it opened).

    I worked there for just over 2 years. Fortunately I no longer do; but I do help friends etc. with theirs :)

    Two things need immediate attention:
    1. Training - must be longer and ensure competence with the actual (as crap as they are) systems.
    2. Personalised advisors - this one is more of an opinion. Particularly after my first year there, I sometimes had people ask if they could phone me direct. One woman even begged to somehow be put back through to me as she didn't want her claim to be messed up again and understood things now. I had to explain there's no way to do this. However, if so I believe this would help both customer and advisor. I guess they just don't see how serious people's Tax Credits claims are and think as long as they speak to someone who cares, eh.

    Well sorry if there's any spelling mistakes; that's my little rant.

    Finally, well done to all the experienced advisors who actually HELP rather than hinder. I know you rarely hear that from managers!!!

  7. oh my god i could spend all day on here stating the facts of whats wrong with the whole dept!! im not even going to get into it because it just pisses me off....saying that yes i am still there..6 yrs and still going strong.. well slightly mad but hey we have to pay the bills one way or another!