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.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

HMRC Call Centre Performance

As loyal readers know, getting through to HMRC on the phone can be a tad difficult at times.

On 17 April HMRC issued a briefing note to various professional bodies (including the ICAEW) apologising for HMRC's less than stellar performance over Easter. For reasons best known to HMRC it hasn't yet posted this on its own website (as far as I can see anyway) for ordinary taxpayers to read.

Oddly enough they don't mention their own goal regarding self assessment, when HMRC officially announced:
"Under a new initiative to help its customers, HMRC has confirmed that anyone who receives a penalty, but who believes they don’t need to be in Self Assessment, can call the department on 0845 900 0444."
Anyhoo for your delectation and delight here is the full text of HMRC’s briefing note:

Our Contact Centre performance last week

A number of customers have experienced difficulty getting through to our helplines following the Easter period. We are taking urgent steps to rectify the situation as quickly as possible and response times are improving this week. We are very sorry for any inconvenience and wanted to let you know what we are doing to address the situation.

What happened?
Against much improved performance over the last few months, we have had a very challenging week following the Easter break.

In preparation for the new tax year, we update our systems over a weekend in April. These updates keep our systems in line with legislation, help lower costs and ensure that our critical systems are maintained. During the period in which these updates take place, our services are disrupted and we are not able to make changes to customer records. 

This year, we updated our systems over the Easter weekend, when demand is generally lower. Following the Easter break, we have experienced some of our busiest days. Demand from customers calling us back following the planned system update coupled with higher than anticipated levels of calls from taxpayers responding to the invitation to query the need to complete a self assessment tax return which went out with the 2011/12 notices to file.

We have also seen increases in calls to our Tax Credits helpline from customers notifying us of changes to their circumstances, as a result of previous Budget changes, further increasing our already high demand.

The 370,000 callers who rang on Tuesday 10 April was the second highest number of callers on any day in the last 12 months.

We have also been experiencing some technical telephony issues during this period, which we continue to work through.

What are we doing to improve service levels?
We have longstanding arrangements in place to redeploy staff to cope with peaks in demand. And we do this in “real time” to try and ensure that we can offer the best possible service levels we can.

In the light of the exceptional demand we have seen over the past few days, we have deployed all available trained staff within our Contact Centre network to handle additional PAYE and SA demand, as well as an additional 350 staff from processing offices around the country to help us to manage the additional calls we are receiving.

We are deploying front line managers to answer calls, and have cancelled all training time on our busiest days to ensure we are in a position to improve service levels as soon as possible.

We are already looking closely at how we can more effectively manage demand during this period in 2013/14 and for the future as part of our ongoing review processes.

What should our customers do?
These measures are already taking effect and service is improving, but demand for our PAYE and SA helplines continue to be high.

It will help us to improve further if customers with non urgent enquiries can defer their call until next week when we are confident these measures will have improved things even more.

We will keep you up to date with our progress.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Same old every year....they never learn.

  2. Yes, it all comes down to performance. If a call center agent is dedicated and committed to their work, I'm sure a lot of customers' will be satisfied. I guarantee that!

    1. Sonia, you are from a US call centre (check the spelling) agency. You know flap-all about the machinations of HMRC.

  3. additional 350 staff from processing offices around the country to help us to manage the additional calls.


    Now we just need the HMRC staff that are actually doing and understand, the work, to take the calls, like they used to successfully do, about 10 years ago, remember?



  6. Only Comment service is a joke they chase you down for money you owe , but the other way around if they owe you !!!!!!