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, 26 April 2011

Hotseat IV - Dame Lesley Speaks

HMRC Electric Commode
It seems that the furore over HMRC's recent Hotseat "Question 23", re offices with poor staff survey scores being closed, shows no signs of abating.

My thanks to a loyal reader who has sent me a typed copy of Dame Lesley Strathie's intranet musings on the issue. I am advised that this is typed exactly as it appears on the HMRC intranet:

"Message from Lesley Strathie: the People Survey and the information you will give us

You may have heard speculation about the role the People Survey plays here in HMRC.

The first thing to stress is that the People Survey is your chance to share your views about life and work her in the department, It's an opportunity to make your voice heard and for us to listen to what you tell us.

We're under no illusion about the scale of the challenge - especially given the results of the most recent surveys. That's why it's so important that you take part.

An engaged workforce is a more productive workforce and the very best performers, whether it's the London Ambulance Service, John Lewis Partnership or Tesco, recognise this.

In all of these organisations, leaders and managers know that positively encouraging people to perform at their best is the most important thing that they do.

David MacLeod calls this a "blindingly obvious but nevertheless often-overlooked truth" in his report into employee engagement (pdf), published by the department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

This is the approach we are adopting here in HMRC. It's not unique to us but it's a tried and tested route to success. While it is clear we have some considerable way to go, we have already seen some improvements in parts of HMRC.

For the Department's leadership, it is about learning from these successes- finding out why so me teams are so much more engaged in the Department's goals and motivated to deliver their part in our success than many others.

We need to ensure we create a similar environment across the Department, so everyone feels as motivated and engaged.

I feel I should stress that when we talk about engagement here in HMRC, we aren't talking simply about the results of the People Survey. Neither are we talking about happiness.

We're talking about our ability to be more productive and all that means in terms of servicing our customers and reducing the tax gap.

I know from your Hotseat questions and forum discussions many of you have been asking about office closures, how we make our decisions and whether the People Survey has a bearing. I have also seen one reply that suggested engagement scores may be a deciding factor. So I want to make our position clear on the office closures.

When it comes to making these difficult decisions, we look at a number of factors, which are fully discussed with our trade unions.

They mainly involve whether leases breaks are available (in line with government guidelines) and whether reduced numbers of people mean we need fewer offices in a location. If all things are equal and decisions have to made between locations productivity will, of course, come into it. It's far more likely that offices with low engagement will be less productive - that's the only link that we would make. Our consideration will include how to retain our most knowledgeable, skilled and motivated staff and managers because that is what we know we need in HMRC.

The people survey is your chance to share your views about life and work here in the Department. It's an opportunity to make your voice heard and for us to act on what you tell us about - from the resilience of some of our IT to the quality of your desk top PCs and in our approach to vacancy filling across all business areas.

The Change Programme and this year's Business Plan demonstrates the extent of our work to remove many of the causes of the frustration. Your input has helped us prioritise.

You'll see more about the actions we're taking in response to the People Survey on the intranet and in Pulse from early next month.

I wish you all a happy Easter and, on behalf of the Executive Committee our thanks for your dedication and hard work over the last tax year

Lesley Strathie

Chief Executive

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  1. Not really denying the threat is real tho.

  2. "When it comes to making these difficult decisions, we look at a number of factors, which are fully discussed with our trade unions".

    But we just go ahead and change things anyway like sickness absence policies and how we can sack you.

    "While it is clear we have some considerable way to go, we have already seen some improvements in parts of HMRC".

    We dont get nicknamed the Glorious 103rd Brigade for nothing you know :)

  3. What a farce. How could HMRC be productive when they need 3 or 4 attempts to answer a basic questions. Jebus!

  4. I never cease to be amazed by how thick Leslie Strathie is as is clearly shown in this frankly comical message. I thought it would be difficult to out do Lamebrain Lamey when it came down to crass ignorance but she has done so and with flying colours.

    Let me ask her the "blindingly obvious" question - how the f**k is this crass communication "positively encouraging people to work at their best"?

    You could not make it up. If she and Lamey really wanted to positively encourage people to perform at their best they would resign. What really makes me laugh is the inference that where the Department is (103rd) is nothing to do with them. They suggest things are improving (where FFS?) but where have they ever accepted responsibility for where the Department is and what sanctions have they endured for dragging it down from the once proud organisation it was

    I just wish the Treasury Ministers would adopt their approach and get rid of Management that was not engaging and quickly before they drive everyone worth having out of the Department.

  5. Most of the good 'uns who could afford it have already gone.
    A few waverer's that remain will soon be gone, so what will be left.
    Believers in pacesetter, self delusionalcrap lower managers, megalomaniac's from SO upwards through SCS to Excom all trying desperately to cling on to power knowing that to do so will get them their huge bonuses or if the worst comes to the worst they go with a huge lump-sum and a pension bigger than the majority of the troops earn in a year before tax!
    Roll on the post 2015-16 era.......rumours have started.....
    but back to reality, whatever next?
    Blame it on anyone but the one's responsible.
    Fit for purpose - no, neither HMRC not it's management.

  6. "Roll on the post 2015-16 era.......rumours have started.....
    but back to reality, whatever next?"

    What rumours? You can't do that and leave us (me at least) hanging?

  7. Who will be left?

    SO Statistic/Pacsetter nut cases.

    Officer/HO Grade type arse licks who bluffed their way to those grades, and who especially havnt a clue now the dept has went tits up.

    AA/AOs who are afraid to speak and who murder their way through realms and realms of mind numbing mindless processing work and who think HMRC is an ok place to work in.
    You know the ones Im talking about.
    Several people phone in sick, and theres an AA or AO who makes sure that every scrap of those sick peoples work is neatly processed and tidied away at the end of the day.
    As If to say="Look at me Sir, I can do it all, we dont even need those other tossers"
    Or the AO who watches what time others leave at the end of the day and then tells the O/HO the next morning. :(

  8. @18.02 I am sorry but are you giving out about AOs who actually give a shit and cover for people who call in sick?

  9. When you follow the herd all you see are backsides

  10. "Neither are we talking about happiness" - Are you fucking stupid, Strathie, or what? Take a close look at John Lewis and Tesco. Their staff are engaged with their work BECAUSE THEY ARE HAPPY, YOU FUCKING MORON!
    John Lewis workers own their company. They reap direct rewards from their work (i.e. money), they don't get some dipshit manager trying to look sincere while s/he 'just says thanks'.
    It is blatantly obvious that your job is to destroy HMRC so thoroughly that its tasks can then be handed to private companies (debt collection, anyone?) on the boards of which you and your EXCOM chums will miraculously appear. So Fuck Off. We want a job where we are happy, productive and trusted.