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.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

HMRC's "Sinister" Plot - The Creeping Politicisation of HMRC

As loyal readers know, I have for many years warned about the creeping politicisation of HMRC.

Now, at the eleventh hour, it seems that PCS has finally woken up to that threat (albeit from a union perspective). As per PCS:
"The most senior civil servants in HM Revenue and Customs have hatched a "deeply disturbing" politicised plot to destabilise our union, it has been revealed.

A leaked memo, written for HMRC's executive committee, outlines a plan to "marginalise" us because of our continuing opposition to cuts and closures.

Our general secretary Mark Serwotka has written to HMRC chief executive Lin Homer to say we believe it signals a "major and damaging change in industrial relations" and to call on her to publicly disown it."
Fair enough that the leadership of PCS are concerned about their influence and power being marginalised, like it or not unions are themselves political organisations with their own vested interests. However, I am surprised it has taken a leaked memo to wake them up to the fact that the government doesn't like unions/industrial action messing up its plans for changing the civil service.

Sorry to say it, but that has been the reality for decades. Has PCS been asleep for the last few years?

In fact many loyal readers have posted comments on this site, over the years, expressing "disappointment/frustration" with the way that PCS conducts itself and its "cosiness" to the management of HMRC.

The issue is not so much "management's" attempts to "marginalise" PCS, but the role that HMRC members of PCS want it to play in representing their interests.

I would like to hear what PCS members think about PCS's performance wrt representing their interests over the past few years. Additionally, if anyone has a copy of the memo please feel free to pass it on to me.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. There comes a time, and maybe this is it?

    PCS should be banging on the doors of MPs, TUC, media and Civil Service Commission as a starter. This is naff all to do with politics and all to do with abuse of power by HMRC management. PCS has found itself totally blindsided and maybe should call in an independent investigation of Revenue Group activity or inaction and maybe look at who has possibly benefitted?
    Notwithstanding, I and numerous others have been exasperated by the way in which HMRC has conducted it's affairs and treated staff, "customers", politicians alike with such contempt and lack of accountability.
    The time, is right and the momentum must be maintained, the PAC is not the forum, nor the NAO. It will require openess and clarity and needs to possibly get the IPCC involved to look closely at any criminal or serious civil implications.
    An ala lysis of your blog over its lifetime would give a good indication of where to look.
    Perhaps a suitable investigative researcher or analyst could be brought in to crunch the data? Added to the current expose being worked up?

  2. you are finally getting the message, take action NOW there will be no better time. Before Christmas is our schedule we are not going to rush it out to coincide with recent events because its worth the extra time involved.

  3. So, the lid is finally about to blow on the festering cess-pit that is HMRC.
    When it does, many will learn that it is not just about the way they have treated staff.

  4. Anyone that's got a grievance write it up, let's say your top 5 gripes, don't sign it whatever you do! Mark the envelope with an asterisk (so we can count then as they arrive) and somehow.... you know how best to get this done, get it through to the head of H.R. Make sure it ONLY goes there. We are monitoring the quantity and origin of mail, and under the freedom of information act we'll be asking for pertinent details on the 1st December, that'll give us Two weeks to sort the information before it goes public. Can't say too much more, but your time is here, if you choose not to take it, then its your loss. I'm looking forward to the results.

    1. You are either taking the mic key big time or I have missed something over the last goodness knows how many years.
      I will assume it is the former so go away...

    2. YOU must have missed a lot! obviously you've accepted it as the norm. This cluster fu@k is going to be sorted, watch this space

    3. Don't think I missed too much it's just that your push in the direction of HE seems rather optimistic given that grievances, or whatever they are called now, plus requests for Internal Investigation for alleged law breaking have gone ignored or covered up.
      So, no, I have accepted nothing as the norm, rather just come to expect outright lying, obfuscation and covering up from management as being what to expect!
      Also, looking forward to it getting sorted, or rather, totally independently investigated with IPCC investigation and TUC involvement see 1323 and 1041 above...

    4. HE means high explosive while HR means humane rendition!

    5. Stack the evidence of grievances (in writing) at the doors of the very department that should have sorted it then when the NAO and other carry out their audits, they've got no where to hide

    6. Dear poster you are either a management troll or so out of touch you are inhabiting a passing comet.
      What I saw being shredded in there even though it was part of a certain chain, would indicate that grievances left at doors would suffer the same fate!
      The NAO and the PAC are about as much use as a proverbial chocolate teapot, and even very critical HMIC inspections are ignored and not acted upon.
      Even when someone like Hartnet is forced to apologise bugger all happens apart from the doors revolving yet again!
      Beginning to the the tale of an expose' is a wee bit of psy ops - do do, do do!

    7. I don't know your management, and if half of what I've heard is true I wouldn't cross the road to piss on them, fire or no fire!
      Troll? nope just an interested party helping the cause.
      As you say, shredding, inept NAO and PAC, no regard for their own inspections. Who else do you think is going to sort this shit if the people right in the middle of it won't?

    8. OK, happy to be corrected, please stay on board!

      What you will have heard and read is true, there is a management mindset that has caused levels of absence due to stress etc. That are joint highest in the civil service. They would be top by far but there is no resilience in the way that stress, depression etc. is recorded.
      When I went for my psych. evaluation the psychiatrist was appalled and said I was the 6th person seen from the same HMRC location that year (April!) and said "in my opinion they should be fucking prosecuted"
      Obviously must be something happening to upset a psychiatrist to that extent, not a happy bunny!
      So, the sooner the SHTF big time the better!
      I have never seen such appalling management, there is no moral or ethical let alone common sense amongst the vast majority of them.
      The very few good ones are either marginalised, leave or keep a low profile after making an initial rear covering movement.

    9. I've heard of this scenario from multiple sources - I think HMRC staff are keeping some surgeries open!

      As for the leaked memo, make no mistake - the 3 point action plan in is in full effect and reps are being targeted as we speak. For star wars fans, order 66 has been enacted

      Some of us have been watchmen on the wall and have warned that HMRC had an unsavoury strategy in the works and it hasn't come as a surprise in the least that our suspicions have been confirmed.

    10. I am a bit confused/slow witted. Who will be monitoring these marked envelopes? How will you know the contents, unless you open the letters?

    11. I believe that the jotunn have been at play, but any sunlight cast upon the blog should turn them to stone!

    12. * on envelopes = 328 Week to date

    13. * on envelopes = 742 Week to date

  5. I think PCS totally underestimated the ruthlessness that was unleashed when the merger occurred in 2005. No union could probably have dealt with it. In the building I worked in, of maybe 200 people, you simply could not make contact or seek guidance from PCS the shit hit the fan that hard. The lines were full so to speak. Bullying, unfair workload increase, and other issues which could take months to resolve simply piled up. And now you have a management ready to kill them off completely.

  6. It shows that there is no act too low that EXCOM and their masters will stoop to do force through their agendas.

  7. Strange reality that this is even alluded to in a modern society. Common purpose, abuses of power, lawbreaking, bullying, nepotism, blind adherence to Lean doctrine.
    It is almost as though HMRC has morphed into the worst of a communist/stasi type organisation.

    A huge question mark over why this has been allowed to continue unchecked, especially when it is so patently obvious that corruption has filtered from the top down.

    Didn't Nero believe he was invincible, despite the obvious? As for the Abbey fiasco and Homers bonus, merely icing on a poisonous cake. Yep, maybe, just maybe, Camel other is crumbling.

    When the total picture is unveiled stand by to be shocked folks! Perhaps the curtain will finally fall on the Muppet Show and allow a decent, 'customer' focused organisation to develop and do its job morally and ethically, and be a place that staff are proud to work in. Bit like the old C&E was at its best?

  8. PCS has shown itself to be more interested in bringing about the dictatorship of the proletariat than engaging constructively with HMRC management. Perhaps the proposed Revenue & Customs Trade Union will provide an alternative for those discontented with Comrade Serwotka. Can't be much worse ...can it?

  9. I don't think HMRC management give two shits about PCS, the taxpayer, or people who work in HMRC. They said in 2005 they had a target to reach regarding getting rid of thousands of staff, reducing service and access to those on the outside, closing buildings etc. Anyone who is now shocked at all of this should have listened carefully in 2005. Myself and others made a decision and left. If you thought in 2005 that everything was going to be ok for you, and now you're in a cesspit of shit, you kind of have your own self to blame.

    1. I think your comment about being 'only yourself to blame' is rathar a sweeping statement as there could be a lot of people did not have the options to just leave, or confidence or general circumstances that would enable them to.go and without knowing this I dont feel I or any other can judge or defiantely as you put it 'blame'

  10. I fought them, lost and my bloody team leader ended up doing my job as it was at next level up even though I had been doing it for 14 years or so at my level and acting up.
    I defiantly put principles before money but when you get crapped on from all sides, no chance.
    Met team leader after I left, under no illusions as to what I thought.
    So, waiting to see if this story about an expose is true or not. Does not look too convincing but there again, it's Monday tomorrow and maybe Ken or someone else will have unearthed the truth? Beginning to look like a well thrown red herring now though.
    At least Serwotka is banging on doors.

  11. The pen is mightier than the sword.
    BBC Panorama, Zone D, 4th Floor, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, UK, W1A 1AA
    Watchdog, W1 NBH 07C, BBC New Broadcasting House,Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
    just add yours to the flow of excrement heading their way.

  12. Ken, it should not be beyond your talents to sort this out. Either a concerted effort is underway by a group of professionals or it isn't.
    If it is, then a lot of people would wish to know where to add substance based on fact not third hand or speculation.
    If there is no expose' looming let's have that confirmed.

  13. It would seem it's time to stand up and be counted, you know you can't go direct so are the options given above a good way to go? The numbers that COULD say something are too many to be ignored and in the absence of a better offer, what the hell....I'm in

  14. Perhaps if staff searched on the internet for Revenue & Customs trade union they may have a better understanding of what may be going on. Being a member of staff myself, I'm confused & quite frankly worried about what the future will hold for me if another union is formed, as this will play straight into my employer's hands. A classic example is the teaching profession with its multitude of staff representatives and the infighting it causes.

  15. None of you need ANOTHER union! you already have a perfectly good one with strength in numbers. Don't let HMRC erode that. YOU have rights and should be exercising them as well as fighting to keep them! grow some b@lls and stand up for what's right. A NEW union will be engineered to be their poodle....You already have a Rottweiler! USE IT

  16. If you think its bad now, let them dump the union, then you'll see just how bad it can get

  17. Quite right. As I pointed out another union is not what is needed as this will play into the employer's hands. I should point out that I have no affiliation to any union, I just want to perform my duties fairly and without the unnecessary hindrances that jobsworths impose on me. For goodness sake I'm an investigator not a whiteboard/Pacesetter aficionado.

    1. Investigator? Could find that there is a tap on your shoulder shortly and your vetting goes out of the windows courtesy of the "shoe flies"!
      You must be aware of what happened to Osita Mba ffs?
      BTW, this site appears to have had some not so clever disinformation sprinkled about in the last few days for some reason.

  18. What disinformation exactly, mr anon?

  19. This site is open to ALL obviously that includes your internal opponents / managers they are not thick, although they certainly act that way. Disinformation, it's down to us to sort the wheat from the chaff, But be assured just belly aching about the current situation isn't going to change a damn thing.

  20. You hearing the news headlines regarding HMRCs performance / problems?
    Something's going on. Anyone got more information?

  21. Comment,

    Let the idiots set their own targets - wtf do you expect the results to be?

    Revenue protected - De Ja Vue!

    Perusing vigorously tax avoidance? Well, I perused the lottery and never caught it!

    Should anyone wonder why they are so slow? The idiots of managers and Pacesetters wallahs were all in Westminster Abbey or counting their "performance" bonuses! The bastards should have the money taken directly out of their bank accounts by....HMRC, oh, yes, probably take them so long they would time out again!

    Savaged by the PACIFIC and NAO, bollocking, a dead sheep would do a better job, bring back Geoffrey However!

    Unless there actually is an expose' being worked on by some effective in dependant investigative journalists this will be allowed to die a death after mumblings from Gauke and Osborne.

    Would love to see Homers bonus reclaimed though, if her contentions were an advert the ASA would have had it pulled!

    SNAFU, clusterfuck, nothing to see, move along please...


    The Public Accounts Committee has criticised HM Revenue & Customs for its "unacceptably slow" action against tax avoiders.

    Margaret Hodge, chair of the committee, said the inaction was putting tax revenues at risk: "HMRC must do more, faster."

    She highlighted that a tax avoidance scheme closed down in 2009 was not taken to a tribunal until this year.

    "This may be just the tip of the iceberg," Mrs Hodge said.

    Slow progress

    Up to £10m of taxes avoided by 2,000 users of a scheme known as Liberty may not be recoverable, the Labour MP said, because in 30 cases HMRC failed to start inquiries into personal tax returns within the 12 month deadline.

    "Although HMRC says Liberty was an exceptional case among the 750,000 personal tax return inquiries each year, it was unable to tell us how much delays had cost across the different tax avoidance schemes," she said.

    Liberty was an investment scheme deliberately designed to avoid tax, and reportedly used by celebrities including singer Katie Melua, George Michael and Gary Barlow.

    It was said to have helped shelter £1.2bn from the Treasury.

    The committee members were also concerned about slow progress in acting on information from the Falciani list, which identified 3,600 UK individuals potentially avoiding tax using Swiss bank accounts.

    They called on HMRC to use the new powers granted by parliament to tackle tax avoidance and report on its progress.

    Taxing companies

    The MPs also said that Revenue & Customs failed to properly tackle companies that took advantage of international tax structures to reduce their UK liabilities.

    "Some international tax experts believe that the UK's tests for companies to gain tax residency are less rigorous than in other EU jurisdictions.

    "Research into seven companies who have recently relocated to the UK for tax purposes showed very little inward investment was generated or jobs created in the UK in return for the tax benefits the companies receive," Mrs Hodge said.

    "HM Treasury and HMRC should provide the committee with details of progress in identifying and addressing the ways that international tax structures are exploited, and set out the actual costs and benefits of recent changes to the UK's tax regime."

    In December 2013, the MPs accused HMRC of "losing its nerve" when mounting tax prosecutions against multinational corporations.

    The committee also highlighted the £1.9bn error made by the tax authorities when setting a baseline for its compliance work. The mistake went undetected for three years.


    An HMRC spokesman said: "The committee recognises we have addressed their key comments about tax avoidance. The way we now work makes it clear to promoters and users of schemes that we will robustly tackle tax avoidance wherever it happens so increasingly taxpayers are contacting us to help disentangle them from schemes that simply do not work."

    He said HMRC was challenging multi-nationals and had brought in £31bn from large business since 2010.

    "We will work closely with the National Audit Office to ensure there is no repeat of the base line error for which we apologised to the committee. However, even taking this into account we exceeded our targets for tackling tax dodgers and criminal gangs every year since 2010," he added.

    1. We are the UK’s tax authority. We are responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.

      The above is copied straight from their website.

      It's all stuff and nonsense from the PAC, blah de blah blah, same old same old. Pick up your bonus on the way out Lin, as you say, you deserve it, btw,
      dear old Amyas sends his regards.

      Also, it's billions overstated as per the PAC/NAO makes Tescos look like petty cash eh?

    2. Str8 copy and paste from BBC news Today

  23. Makes you wonder whether the prospect of losing the subscription of all those members has nudged PCS out of its stupor? Most members believe that management don't give a great deal of credit to PCS, and certainly not been effective over closures, job losses or conditions.
    The union fees certainly do not seem to reflect value for money as the collective failure of the union to protect members from widespread bullying has shown. They have all the staff and info but have not gone forward with it. Almost as disgraceful as the bullying itself.
    If you doubt this, try researching the worst 2 departments in the civil service for stress absence.

  24. Any union reps beating the drum as we speak?
    Any press conferences to explain the workers stance?
    Anyone grasping this opportunity to allow YOUR voice to be heard?
    We'll see over the next few days.
    I would think NOT

  25. The leaked Excom transcript can be found in this PCS article:

  26. Recommendation – PCS
    It is suggested that HMRC adopts the following approach with PCS:
    1. The ER team explore with PCS whether the current HMRC dispute can be ended by
    agreement on future handling arrangements covering those matters which impact people.
    This would need to be achieved without any sense that it is a response to industrial action,
    and would need to involve at least an understanding with PCS that their future engagement
    with HMRC is about working with us to achieve our change agenda whilst seeking to protect
    the legitimate interests of members as far as possible.
    2. In the event that this is not achievable, the ER team works with all stakeholders to deliver this Option :

    Aim to marginalise PCS by maintaining dialogue only to meet statutory minimum
    requirements (similar to relationship with ARC in the run-up to, and beyond, their day of strike
    action in February 2014).

    Creates pressure on PCS to re-engage with the employer as this is the only means by which
    they can be fully involved as the business reshapes.
    Enables the change agenda to be progressed without the need for time-consuming
    discussion other than as required by statute or agreement, for example to comply with the
    Cabinet Office Protocol on the Handling of Surplus Staff.
    Sends a clear signal to union members that their union is no best positioned to serve their
    needs, and enables HMRC to take more direct responsibility for looking after the interests of
    our people insofar as that is consistent with he needs of change agenda.

    Does not solve the current dispute potentially leading to further industrial action over a
    protracted period.
    Risks HMRC being seen to be intransigent or politically motivated in efforts to marginalise a
    union with significant membership.

    3. The position regarding further proactive measures targeted at key union activists is regularly
    reviewed in light of achievements flowing from the recommendations above.
    This suggested approach will require careful handling including a robust communications approach
    to ensure HMRC’s position is clearly articulated alongside or ahead of the union’s own
    Jonathan Donovan

  27. What a croc of crap! How dare they !!

  28. And more from it

    3. Pursue an active strategy to diminish the influence of PCS activists more quickly than can be
    achieved under option 2 above. This would involve a range of measures including:
     further reduction of facility time from key PCS office holders
     exploration of possibilities to encourage HMRC employees away from PCS representation,
    including but not limited to other workable (and more progressive) alliances and potentially
    establishment of direct consultative employee forum arrangements starting in those areas
    where PCS membership density is low.
     Proactive targeting of union communications to better represent the facts, delivered
    through face to face conversation rather than tit-for-tat written material
     Isolation of PCS’s leadership from all but statutorily required discussion with HMRC.
     Targets those responsible for leading union members into a series of disputes and can be
    positioned as an “enough is enough” message to our people including the two-thirds of
    union members who have not supported strike action.
     Can be positioned as a “reformist” agenda with the CO and other stakeholders.
     In the longer term, achieves degradation of PCS’s organising capability by permanently
    reducing the influence of union leaders.
     Does not end current dispute.more from it,

  29. No disrespect chum, but if the people reading this blog are incapable of finding the leaked memo there is no hope for them. Flippin' heck the link is on the PCS site isn't it?

    In addition, copy paste or writing it all out in full does not tend to have the desired effect and leads to lengthy blogs.

    That said the HMRC are shite and treat their staff with utter contempt, as they do for taxpayers and politicians alike.

    Better to post the link to anything and let people exercise their digits and minds.

  30. Is there any HMRC department that is performing adequately despite the number of pointless time consuming morale sapping hoops it has to jump through on a daily basis?

    1. Two, the one that calculates management performance bonuses, and the one that provides the answers to useless PAC and NAO Comittees!

      There might have been a third, dreaming up uses for a whiteboard that is no longer required because the office has shut.

    2. I think HMRC's Morale Lowering section are doing a wonderful job

    3. Tweet and photo of England flags with White van = resignation
      HMRC cluster f@ck = ????????
      This country has gone TOTALLY facking mad!!!

  31. Anyone looking into HMRC border control, losing 'seized items' from supposedly 'secure' warehouses. Cigarette anyone?

    1. HTC Border controls, don't make me laugh, it all went to ratshite with the Gordo Broon debacle. HMG lost complete control of the borders from then on.
      People and illicit goods flooded the country, VAT fraud ran riot and other taxes evaporated courtesy of a few serious organised crime groups.
      I even saw a TV programme today with HMRC Criminal Investigators raiding a tobacconist with trading standards and the police and a private companies tobacco sniffing mutt. In the days of HMC&E that role would not have involved a CI bod, or police or trading standards, it was done by an efficient team of what we're called EVO'S. Excise Verification Officers. Then along came the mega expensive 'strike farce teams' which cost stupid amounts to run and deprived regions of their staff and efficiency. They lost stuff from warehouses with monotonous regularity.
      people have such short memories

    2. 'strike farce teams' are still stuffing up, and spend too much time performing for the media. they should be concentrating on stopping the thieves from looting HMRC secure warehouses. funny how CCTV systems can fail at the wrong time.

    3. where have the fags been "lost" and is this in the public domain?

  32. selling cigarettes in the markets, inside job, pillars of the community. I think NOT

  33. Game keeper turned poacher
    VERY big barrel, some rotten apples, but are part of the 'untouchable' 'unaccountable' department of sloths that may be trying hard to make a difference........ but are failing miserably.

  34. It's a farce in there, glad to be out.
    They used to have some exceptional regional Intel. teams doing a lot of frontier or post import work on massive seizures including debriefing and humint. Then some ex. CI tossers with less efficient intel teams got jealous about the success these self -directed work teams were having, and the rest is history as they say. Strangely HMRC reintroduced debriefing at the frontier with joint Border Farce Intel, wheel turns!
    Yet another example of the abuse by management of staff - of a certain team of 6, 4 left the new management, the manager had a track record of bullying and abuse over 2 decades with many staff leaving the 2 departments or transferring away from the certain individuals reach. This is the one that got hit by a Karma event over a land and property deal recently!

  35. Yeah out and out rogues making honest peoples lives a misery! I hope for Karma on them all pucking fricks

  36. HMRC is like a pebble beach...... looks alright on the surface, BUT start turning the pebbles over and looking closer and you find either GOOD, HARD WORKING people Hiding from more Management bullsh@t, or DISHONEST, BULLSH@TTING, BULLIES that deserve a good slapping!

  37. When you allege civil and criminal law breaking by managers in the Criminal Investigation/Intelligence areas in your grievances and request Internal Investigation or whatever they were called to be notified and nothing runs forward besides a dice of a manager saying "no evidence", you have to ask how bad it is and what else is being hidden?
    To cover-up or even fail to refer an allegation is at minimum a breach of HMRC rules, and worst stinks of possible conspiracy, and that's bad news if proven.
    Oh yes, and the duck manager was the decision maker and his fact finder referred to the volume of evidence I presented along the lines of " do have a lot of evidence...".
    It is a proverbial cess pit and should be examined closely.

  38. Ken, this thread has attracted many interesting comments. Placing to one side the copy/paste scenario, what remains is worthy of further analysis or review given the varied content.
    The glorious 101st, or whatever they ended up needs to be placed under the microscope of accountability and opened up to scrutiny. Just don't expect anyone to rush to dour it any time soon.

  39. Dream on guys, who do you know that has the balls to take these f@cking life sucking idiots on ? I bet there's no takers. ISL would cut the heads of these f@ckers!!

  40. Let's cut ALL the crap and start achieving ACTUAL results we're all belly aching about being hard done by and corrupt ineffective management whose going to change it if WE don't ?

  41. some of us are just biding our time to retirement or redundancy, job satisfaction went out the window years ago. we're not going to rock the shitty boat. others don't know any better.... they are under the spell of HMRC rules !!

  42. WHEN is HMRC going to get its head from up its arse and start to address the sh@t service, sh@t working conditions, sh@t staff morale, and sh@t reputation it has?

  43. One of the definitions of scatological is the study of or preoccupation with excrement or obscenity. Given the amount of shite circulating within the management system of HMRC, whether spoken or written, one might think there has been a severe and long running case of the trots doing the rounds of excommunicated and above.

    Requires a good purge via the usual treatment methodology, surgeons will have to remove management heads from their collective rectum before inserting nozzles.

    The bog of eternal stench bubbles away.

    1. Verily it is a crock of shite and it stinketh!