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, 16 October 2012

Lean On Me

As loyal readers are aware, the ever "popular" subjects of Pacesetter and Lean raise their heads on this site from time to time.

I am therefore indebted to a loyal reader who flagged up the Lean Government Conference held at the Barbican on 20th September:

"A capacity crowd descended upon the Barbican for the opening of Public Service Events' 4th annual Lean Government conference. Featuring a keynote address from Francis Maude, Minister of State for the Cabinet office, the conference boasted a programme of high profile speakers, discussing how lean thinking can transform public sector performance. If an organisation is to improve, it must be constantly searching for ways to do better, said Maude; this is the fundamental ethos of lean. The event, sponsored by Lean Consulting, also featured a range of interactive masterclass sessions and great networking opportunities in the packed exhibition areas."

The speakers at the event are all evangelists for Lean and, I assume, earn "a few pennies" from their Lean evangelism (some have connections with HMT and HMRC). Hence they are, I suspect, rather motivated to push the government/taxpayer to "buy into" Lean.

All very well, if Lean actually works.

The question is does it?

Let us consider where it came from; namely the private sector.

To my humble view (and this may surprise some of you) not every "management/consultancy fetish" that comes from the private sector, even if it works in the private sector (and often it doesn't), is applicable/suitable for the public sector. After all, the techniques and processes used to manufacture widgets are not necessarily the same as the processes/competencies used to collect taxes.

Now, let us consider where in the private sector Lean actually first came from.


Yes, that's right, Toyota.

Toyota, you may be aware, has had to recently recall "some" of its cars because of a production fault over a number of years.

How many cars?

Over 7.4M (manufactured between September 2006 and December 2008), it is in fact the largest recall in the company's history!

Mind you, it has had other recalls in earlier years; again because of failures in production.

Oh dear!

What does this tell us about Lean?

At the very least it tells us that Lean is not a panacea for the ills of the public (or indeed the private) sector. The evangelists and zealots who spoke at last month's conference (after they have counted their earnings from the conference and Lean consultancies) may care to reflect on that!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Never learn the lessons of the past do they?
    Therein lies their problem, for if Lean or whatever it is next month, to work, one has to recognise and understand one's mistakes - if not, well guess who hasn't been paying attention at their Masterclass or hub meetings then - it won't fecking work, how many more times does the Dojo have to tell you, no wonder they eat raw fish FFS!
    Does anyone left out there with a brain remember IIP? That was like Lean without the Japanese bits
    and it didn't work either. I knew a local authority senior manager who stated the only reason they did not use their plastic award shield as an ashtray was because it was made of plastic! BTW, IIP = Idiots In Power - no change then?
    There is never going to be a true worker buy into the current smoke and mirrors and the public is beginning to realise something must be weong because the service to them, the customer continues to get worse.
    Emperour's New Clothes anyone?
    Musings of another Loyal Reader.

  2. As a taxpayer and "customer" I am aghast at what is so obviously a huge waste of taxpayers money, made and paid from hard earned work.
    WTF is going on in Government when this bunch of useless half-wits is allowed to run the top(?)department of government in such a tragic comedy fashion???
    Is there nobody able to sort this out before more millions, let alone billions of pounds continue to be wasted.
    I cannot see where a Japanese car manufacturer can have any significance when it comes to efficient running of yhe UK tax system.
    And don't forget the US exported the Lean philosophy to Japan post war. It worked well for a few decades until hitting the pits with car recalls and nuclear (impossible) accidents etc.
    Unfortunately politicians and senior civil servants have swallowed the sales pitch hook line and sinker and lean and Pacesetter are the current vogue.

  3. It would be interesting to discover who is making £££'s from this crazy money go round.