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, 24 January 2011

Stifling, Unresponsive and Unpleasant

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)

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  1. Fantastic.

    A report like this has been long overdue.

    As an x employee myself, if HMRC management (and I dont mean highly Senior management) were to go on a course and learn some manners, a little bit of decorum on how to communicate with people then things might not be as shit as they are.
    If you treat people as machines or vegatables then you deserve all the shit that comes your way.

  2. I agree with 10:59, the bad managerial attitude goes all the way to the bottom. There are a number of team leaders in HMRC call centres that really need to learn when it is time to keep their mouth shut. That way they would not cause so much upset for staff and their families.

  3. As a retired , Thank God, HMRC employee who worked in PAYE processing I confirm that all comments about the true state of affiars from line managers upwards were frowned on. You were labelled as "negative" if you questioned the next barmy idea that was broached, or complained that self-instruction was inferior to classroom instruction, etc, etc. Those managers & staff who were able to play the game and show the proper enthusiasm for all barmy initiatives were the ones who would get promotions, and so the cover up culture continued. You had to be a bloody good actor, or stupid, to be enthusiastic about most of the changes that came in in recent years.

  4. I am a serving officer in HMRC with 38 years service and with a similar background to the provider of the submission.

    The most appropriate analogy that comes to mind is that associated with the BORG from Star Trek - you will be assimilated!

  5. These complaints are, near enough, the same complaints that the public have about HMRC.

    Does this mean, therefore, you are ordered to effectively treat people like shit or is it that because you feel shit yourselves you may tend to, inadvertently pass this feeling on to the public?

  6. In what way are the complaints the same, or near enough, as the complaints that the public have about HMRC?

  7. 20:11, I think you will find that HMRC is just a shit to work for as it is to deal with.

  8. Nothing could be further from the truth here.

    With the growing rollout of Pacesetter (aka 'Lean') in HMRC, it is just simply going to get even worse.

    It's now spreading like a cancer through processing first of all, now through Local Compliance and DMB.

    HMRC claims that it is helping to aid 'efficiency and productivity'.

    The staff beg to differ - we're now going through it and everyone absolutely fucking hates it.

    All the white boards with the pointless daily meeting.

    Even local management think it's a complete waste of space and does not aid anything, with the exception of the visiting pacesetter 'practitioners' to justify their tavelling and other expenses on the gravy train.

  9. The only positive thing to come out of PaceSetter implementation is that, working in a PaceSetter way, HMRC will become more efficient at doing things wrongly. It's a bit like, say, if your car won't start you upgrade the tyres and get a new exhaust fitted... it doesn't actually solve the problem.

  10. Does this mean, therefore, you are ordered to effectively treat people like shit or is it that because you feel shit yourselves you may tend to, inadvertently pass this feeling on to the public?
    24 January 2011 16:53

    We are simply prevented from helping the tax payer in any way, customer service is banned, to provide any at all we have to break all the rules & hope we are not caught.

  11. 23:22: Your analogy is particularly apt given that the management consultants who imposed 'Lean' on our office were working for a firm which started out selling spare parts for Austin Allegros.

  12. That is one area I disagree with the original submission. It wasn't IR taking over C&E (majority of SCS posts were filled by ex C&E). It was a take over of HMRC by pacesetter. Some smarmy consultant promising to help them slash jobs and produce more if only they would buy these magic beans :)

    Pacesetter started in 2005 to deal with the "efficiency savings" demanded by MP's. Funny how they never seem to take any responsibility for the problems in the civil service and HMRC in particular.

  13. Pacesetter is being gradually imposed on us. Lots of little Hitler's strutting around the office full of their own importance ensuring the people actually working condinue to do so, slaving to meet there targets whilst they simply list 'duties'. Daily whiteboard meetings are an absolute joke. More emphasis on squeezing the staff for stats than developing the workforce. Training is none existant and managers think they are a cut above everyone else.
    Rules regarding flexi, leave and any other such luxury us minions are used to are gradually threatened under the magical umbrella of 'business need'.

  14. I have recently had cause to complain to Lin Homer at HMRC simply because the people in the Tax Credit office were so shockingly poor at dealing with a problem one of my daughters had with them. I have now received a reply from HMRC telling me they are dealing with my Tax Credit problem! I don't have a Tax Credit problem - they completley missed my point. Once upon a time the Inland Revenue were fit for purpose, Gordon Brown managed to trash that by combining the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise - he created a monster that we no longer have the calibre of leaders to control effectivley.