My thanks to a loyal reader, who pointed me to written evidence submitted to Parliament in late 2010 about HMRC by Martin Lewis (an ex HMRC employee).
Lewis describes a general culture in HMRC – "one that is stifling, unresponsive and often unpleasant to work in. It also engenders cynicism..."
The full submission can be read here Administration and effectiveness of HMRC – written evidence.
However, I have copied the Executive Summary below:
"HMRC's culture originates in the main from the Inland Revenue (§5)
· SCS level managers in HMRC discourage middle managers (Grade 6 and 7) from providing upward negative feedback to them (§6)
· SCS level managers in HMRC are largely unaware of the difficulties, problems, and obstacles that the bulk of the organisation faces (§7)
· The role of middle managers is to meet targets and not to provide reasons why targets are not met (§7)
· Staff are disillusioned and feel HMRC is becoming dysfunctional (§7)
· There are exceptions in smaller more specialised areas (§9)
· Operational performance is driven by targets rather than desired strategic outcomes. The department is process driven and not customer focussed (§11)
· A tax inspector or compliance officer brings in additional revenue of five to ten times the cost of employing him (§13)
· The deterrent effect of the compliance effort depends on the taxpayer believing that he and others will get caught (§13)
· The NAO should check that HMRC has a system which ensures the right outcome of the largest of tax settlement cases (§13)
· Cultural reform involving empowerment and accountability is needed and it starts at the top. (§15)"
Tax does have to be taxing.
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