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.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Morale Declines

It seems that HMRC's staff survey for 2009 has highlighted, yet again, the problem of low morale.

HMRC's Capability Re-Review (published 14 December 2009 by the Cabinet Office) reported that the staff survey highlighted that only 25% of HMRC's staff were happy to work there in 2009 (worse than in 2007, when the last Capability review was performed).

The review is scathing about HMRC's senior leadership's attempts to improve morale:

"Current efforts by the senior leadership team to tackle poor staff engagement and improve visibility and communications are not working and this is affecting the
productivity of staff. HMRC has a very high rate of sickness absence

Change management is, to say the least, poor:

"Staff and stakeholders point to examples of change within HMRC that have not been well managed. It is not clear how the senior leadership team takes responsibility for and leads change within the Department.

In the 2009 staff survey, only 11 per cent of all staff and 17 per cent of Senior Civil Servants felt that change is well managed in HMRC, which is significantly below the central government benchmark

Note: I have tried to find the 2009 staff survey on the HMRC site, but have failed. Please could someone send me a link, if it is on the site. Thanks.

Update: My thanks to a loyal reader, who has sent me a link to the staff survey. A summary will be posted in due course.

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  1. The only survey I have come across for last year is

  2. My experience was this-A lot of experienced Customs and Excise people who had worked hard and were an asset to the dept have left, many simply not replaced, as if they'd never been their. There is a residue across the board of lazy, work-shy hangers on who drag everyone else down. Unlike the private sector, these people are simply viewed equally with everyone else with regard to their performance and appraisal.
    On the back of this a sinister Inland Revenue bullying culture has settled in the workplace driven by senior managers.
    There has been zero investment or developmental opportunities for years.
    Even though its blindly obvious its a mess, I have observed some managers sticking their heads in the sand and hoping it all goes away.
    Far too much administrative bureaucracy instigated by far too many HMRC managers.

  3. Yes - I've said it before, but the basic problem with HMRC these days is that it cares for everything more than boring old collecting tax.

    It needs to pay less attention to achieving environmental, diversity and other politically correct agendas, less micromanaging, less institutional bullying, less paranoid security mania and less mindless spreadsheet proliferation.

    It needs more of setting the staff free to do the jobs that they were trained to do, it needs more trust and it needs to treat its staff as responsible adults rather than as five year olds to be sent to the naughty corner if they say a word out of place.

    My experience is that they respond to poor staff surveys by bringing in even more spreadsheets and micromanaging, so the outlook for 2010 is poor in the extreme.

  4. HMRC's... staff survey highlighted that only 25% of HMRC's staff were happy to work there in 2009... wow!!!

    Frankly, I am amazed it's as high as 25%!!!!!

  5. "Even though its blindly obvious its a mess, I have observed some managers sticking their heads in the sand and hoping it all goes away."

    It will not go away and my even come back to bite them on the arse soon.

  6. Great Dilbert cartoon. Hit the nail right on the head!

    How long before the ratio of top management to frontline staff overtakes that of the British Army, currently 1 general for every 415 soldiers?

  7. "HMRC's... staff survey highlighted that only 25% of HMRC's staff were happy to work there in 2009... wow!!!"

    25% of respondent's.

  8. Couldn't agree more. Top shop are so frightened of Whitehall that they are using all possible means to loose staff, notably early retirement, believing that their computers will make up for the loss of experienced staff. BUT as we all know the computer systems are crap.
    As for morale - Hmm! The Clerical Officer grade used to be the backbone of the service, but it is now reduced to being an Asisstant Officer, either doing data-entry or sending out letters saying we're sorry for delay after delay. Delays caused by managers and their spreadsheets. Example:- Monday 04/01/2010 - "its the post count on Thursday, so don't do any more of that work till after next Friday"
    You may ask why? Well, you see the NEW system takes 4 days to create a record, so anything you do in the next 4 days won't actually exist, so you can't say its been dealt with. Aaarrgh!

  9. I dont think HMRC gives a fuck about morale. The attitude is shut your mouth and get on with it, thousands on the dole would gladly take your place. In an indirect way this opens the door to bullying and increased workloads. A decline in morale, weak Union leadership, and no hope of any further developmental opportunities and HMRC know people will become dismayed and hopefully leave, thus allowing them to reach their cull target. They know they're not gonna reach it through natural wastage, retirement etc.
    And wait until the Tories get into power this summer.

  10. Anom re "25% of respondent's"

    I suggest you take this up with the Cabinet Office, this is a direct quote fromn their report:

    "In the 2009 staff survey, only 25 per cent of HMRC staff compared with 61 per cent of its Senior Civil Servants were proud to work for the Department."