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, 20 July 2012

People Engagement In HMRC

On Monday I wrote that HMRC hired a consultant, Nita Clarke, last year to produce a report on internal "people engagement":
"Step forward the Sunday Herald, which has obtained a copy of the report.

On the relationship between HMRC and its staff, the report was blunt:
"At the heart of the engagement challenge in HMRC is a disconnect between employees and the overall organisation.
Many employees feel that the organisation as a whole neither values, listens to, nor respects them."
My thanks to Paul Hutcheon of The Herald who has provided me with a link to the full report.

Nita Clarke (the author) is dismissive of HMRC's process based approach to challenges, and notes that such an approach often leads to disengagement. She states that employee engagement cannot be reduced to a process.

She notes that there is a disconnect between HMRC employees (at all levels, including management at senior levels) and the organisation itself.

Regrettably she thinks that Pacesetter is "highly effective".

She does, however, provide real insight into how absurd the bureaucracy in HMRC has become. Seemingly, in order to determine whether to fix a faulty door handle, HMRC needs to know how many people use the handle to be sure it’s economic to fix it. The solution to HMRC's mouse infestation (that's news to me) has been to ban people from eating at their desks.


Those of you who wish to read the report may do so via this link "People Engagement in HMRC A report to ExCom and the HMRC trade unions".

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  1. There I was reading through thinking mmm a bit like the curates egg (good in parts) when, towards the end I came across this little tell-tale:-
    " should be taken to ensure that the precious engagement resource that is Pacesetter continues to be applied as an empowering and empowerment tool rather than deminished into an alienating piece of process."!
    Up until then I had a sneaky feeling that the report was not focussed on the same organisation but when I came across this Pacesetter brahma I realised that the author had allowed her cloak to slip.
    Is she a Pacesetter evangelist or total glitterati?
    Pity really as the report had obviously highlighted many areas of concern and possible solutions (or is it opportunities?).
    6/10, could and should do better, expect to see imporovement next term or drop a grade.
    LOL :-)

  2. Timely little nugget your article Ken.
    From todays Telegraph p.26 "The blurring of the line between state and private sector creates a culture of confusion."
    Article by Charles Moore.
    snippets include:-
    "Government affects business style. At meetings which are not, and should not be, commercial, modern Civil Service language insists on asking what is the "business case" for a particular course of action. Officials who used to be called "assistant secretary" are now relaunched as "managing directors".
    "One benefit for those involved - though for nobody else - has been semi-commercial rates of pay for those involved."
    How very true and apt!

  3. I remember very well what happened in one of the HMRC buildings a few years ago. In the reception area there was a control panel for use by the security guards which linked to the fire alarm system. A light bulb had expired, making it difficult for the security guards to see the panel properly, so a request was put in for the light bulb to be replaced.

    Three months later, and after much back and forth between HMRC and Mapeley, the light bulb still hadn't been replaced. At that point, as expected, one of the security guards accidentally pressed the wrong button on the poorly lit control panel, triggering an immediate, automated evacuation alarm. About 800 people shuffled out of the building and were stuck outside for almost an hour. Let's assume a variety of grades at a variety of different salaries, giving us an average of maybe £10 per hour, per person. That's an £8000 light bulb.

    Miraculously, the bulb was replaced a week later. To borrow a phrase from our American cousins, "Your tax dollars at work, folks!"

  4. Wait till you find out what it really costs to have an adjustment to a workstation.
    And poor old Ken Clarke longs for the days of the free biscuits.