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.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Caseflow - Spectrum Isn't Green

In September 2011 I wrote the following:

"Despite all the public pronouncements by HMRC that improvements are on schedule, and that targets etc will be met, it appears that one particular target will not be met.

Anything important?

Errrmm, yes actually...Universal Credit, the flagship of the government's plans to simplify the benefits system

That prompted a discussion amongst loyal readers (LR's) about the failure of Caseflow.


"and get shot of PaceSetter and Caseflow. These systems cost a colossal amount of taxpayers' money, yet there is not a shred of evidence that HMRC have improved their performance as a consequence of their implementation.

Does anyone know where to find a verifiable figure for the costs to date of PaceSetter and Caseflow?

It's only taxpayers' money that is being wasted, so the management don't care, but I imagine Joe Public and the Public Accounts Committee might be interested how many £millions are being flushed down the loo


"Re Pacesetter and Caseflow. They will never be ditched as they have never been continuously " reviewed". You will find numbers bandied about hundreds of millions in efficiency savings which conflate increases in productivity with greater tax take all because of the new systems.

UC will have to be delivered, maybe on time, maybe late, because it must. Tax Credits need to be sorted out. Pacesetter will continue as it believed to be the cure to all that ails HMRC ( as well as the rest of the Civil Service).

Case flow is getting regular mentions on the Hotseat. The answers are emphatic. Nothing is wrong, this is simply continuous improvement!

Well now, here we are almost six months later and Sky reports that taxpayers have spent £98M on two tax collection projects that failed to bring in any extra money.

Can you guess what one of them was children?

Yes, that's right, Caseflow (the other being Spectrum - is Captain Scarlet involved now?).

These new systems were meant to bring in £743M last year. However, the National Audit Office (NAO) has stated that they have not delivered "any additional benefits".

The NAO have warned that HMRC will not meet its future forecasts to collect an additional £8.9BN by 2014/15, thanks to the failure of Caseflow and Spectrum.

Why then when issues are raised at Hotseat about Caseflow failing, are they swept under the carpet with the answer that "Nothing is wrong, this is simply continuous improvement."?

Is a Mysteron agent within HMRC?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Well there is a surprise ! Caseflow is one the most convoluted, time consuming, un user friendly systems I have had to use. Managers assure us that it will bed down in time, but admitted that at the Australian Tax authority from where it came took four years for it to work properly !

    1. Also strange, and somewhat sinister, that 5 minutes into the job, Homer ( doh) is referencing Pacesetter as a wonderful thing. Just reading from the same old script. Pacesetter will only be quietly shelved ( and it will be )when all senior people tarred with its brush have slunk off with their pension pots.....look out for BIG changes in the next 3 years - pension changes kick in then..............

    2. Everybody who works for HMRC is made to sign the OSA. So, the nub of it is that we shall never know what is going on inside this organisation when negative reports like this one are made. The organisation would obviously make an excellent target for any groups/individuals to sabotage, as a way of getting back at HM Government for whatever reason...

  2. "Managers assure us that it will bed down in time".

    They havn't even figured out the merger and that was 05/06.

  3. The problem with caseflow is it simply is not fit for purpose. We now have to make our work 'fit' into. I even have to screenshot some of my screens and them import them into caseflow as management insist we use it. So some work i have to do twice for caseflow. I and many colleagues have raised this so many times and always get told Yes we know there are teething problems but we have to use it. As for the reader who said the Australian tax authority said it took four years to work effectively - we have used it for five years plus now - still shite!

  4. More on this at

  5. It sounds like Caseflow has joined the list of piss poor IT projects that HMRC has foisted on its staff. Following on from the tax credits system & the PAYE service, they have received similar responses from senior management

  6. Caseflow and regional post rooms (four for the whole country, absolute madness) were two of the reasons I resigned from HMRC after 27 years. The other reason was that my boss was a prick.

  7. There is no business in the country that could afford to ask its production workers, (whether they be van drivers, telephone salespersons, widget makers, bricklayers) to spend hours of each working day accounting for how they spend their time in the way that Caseflow demands. And when the staff can't figure out out to do this then even more staff gather around the PC to offer advice or comment on how difficult they also find the process. No amount of extra training courses or extra super-users will ever make this half-baked, off-the-shelf piece of rubbish work and it will never save the Dept a single penny.