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, 18 November 2014

Reflections In A Pool of Darkness

Goodness me, how very active the comments section of this site has become over the last few days!

There appear to be two narratives being spun out. On the one hand there is the narrative that an expose is in the offing, and some posters (or poster) are/is encouraging staff to write into Watchdog or HR outlining their grievances.

The other narrative urges caution, lest this be a game played by people with ill intent.

I have yet to determine whether the expose is true or fake. However, it is telling that the questions I raised the other day in response to a specific comment have not been answered, either publicly or privately.

Anyhoo, by happenstance, on the subject of staff morale I am indebted to a loyal reader who dropped me a note about HMRC's performance management system that was revamped in April 2013. Whilst I have written about "guided distribution", wherein the lowest 10% are rated as "must improve", I was not aware of other "nuances" within the system.

I must point out at this stage, I have not yet been able to verify if what I have been told applies to everyone or just a few people.

My loyal reader advises me that not only are there an annual and "in year" reviews (which is the case with many professional organisations), but there are also monthly "one to ones".

These monthly meetings require the hapless staff member to complete a time consuming narrative of "tasks undertaken", which theoretically are meant to be linked to previously agreed objectives and behaviours. Not only that, staff are required to produce a "reflections" document and evidence having given and received constructive feedback.

Not content with this, there are also quarterly "expectations" documents that need to be produced.

As far as I can see, such a methodology might be appropriate for staff members deemed to be on their last chance, or who have been given numerous written warnings. However, for this to be required of every staff member is at the very best a massive waste of time, and incredibly soul destroying.

I have to ask, how on earth does anyone ever get any work done in HMRC?

I would appreciate hearing from people as to whether the above is an aberration being played out by a few managers in a limited area, or whether this is the case across the whole of HMRC?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Not sure if this is associated, but a lot of the processing areas had a QA/QC system which I assumed to be quality assurance quality control. Think it looked at time and content accuracy. Anyhow, it used to be reflected in those damn daily hubs which at one time staff were made to stand for! Stats were manually collected on an hourly basis to be scribed upon the holy of holyies, the whiteboard. These were team stats, but individual ones might be discussed with the individual on a daily basis in an open office.
    The team leader in the office was so useless an O had to do most of the HO work, but as previously reported, this was stopped when senior managers worked out they were a year light in output at O level,
    What I could never understand, besides the stupidity of Pacesetters in a civil service system, was that the demanded stats were physically collected by a nominated individual when all the information processed was abstracted, collated, recorded and disseminated electronically.
    Farking incredible in this day and age.
    Of course, these managers are the same ones that should be subject of the mythical expose for their additional law breaking, non adherence to statutory regulations, bullying, harassment or merely collecting a salary under false pretences!

  2. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been accused of putting millions of pounds at risk through delays in tackling tax dodgers, including celebrities.

    A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of MPs found that people suspected of avoidance were being pursued at "unacceptably slow" levels, with HMRC accused of overstating its success because its targets were set too low.

    It cited delays in dealing with the controversial Liberty scheme - which created a tax loss for investors that they could offset against other income - used by stars, doctors and judges which was shut down in 2009.

    The group of cross-party MPs warned that up to £10m of the total £400m in tax at stake may not be recoverable because HMRC failed to start inquiries into 30 cases within the legal deadline.

    About 2,000 people are believed to have used the scheme, including singer Katie Melua, who paid her taxes in full after learning she was among a number of stars who had invested in it.

    Committee chair, Margaret Hodge, said: "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."

    The PAC report also raised concerns about HMRC's progress tackling information from the so-called Falciani list, which identified 3,600 Britons potentially avoiding tax using the Geneva branch of HSBC.

    The committee found that the agency had received £135m from individuals on the list, compared to £220m received by Spain and £188m recovered by France.

    Mrs Hodge added: "HMRC must do more, faster. It should report on the progress it has achieved by using new powers granted by Parliament to tackle tax avoidance and show that it is using its existing powers with sufficient urgency.

    "HMRC does not do enough to tackle companies which exploit international tax structures to minimise UK tax liabilities."

    The committee also found that HMRC presented "misleading information" to Parliament about its improvements in collecting cash from tax avoidance, evasion and crime after a £1.9bn error in the way its targets were set.

    HMRC said: "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."

  3. There is no interest from the public in this at all. It's almost as though they could not care less that millions, let alone billions don't hit the chancellor's coffers.

    So be it.

  4. Your correspondent is correct about the monthly “one to ones”, and the “expectations” and “reflections” documents.

    There is a further wrinkle though – the “reflections” document is meant to reflect on a piece of work from the past month that you feel you could have done better – you must then produce evidence in a future month to show that you have acted upon this. Of course this is nothing more than management asking you to provide the bullets for your own execution, as they will use the “reflections” document to place you in the bottom 10% without them even having to invent anything!

    Mind you, once you have finished collecting feedback from Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, attending the weekly pacesetter meeting, checking for the pool car, checking the cost of public transport and obtaining print outs of Google Maps and, there will be no time left to actually do any work to reflect on.

  5. "The committee also found that HMRC presented "misleading information" to Parliament about its improvements in collecting cash from tax avoidance, evasion and crime after a £1.9bn error in the way its targets were set" - sorry to be boring and bringing this up again - but it isn't an "error" - this is FRB and it is official policy.

  6. Replies
    1. FRB means Future Revenue Benefit

      Or as the cynical may say,.a way of increasing yield without actually collecting it

    2. TKS!
      So the beggars inflate success with both Revenue Protected and Future Revenue Benefit "guesstimates" eh?
      Makes Tesco's inflation of profits look amateurish by comparison.
      No wonder Homers contention that her bonus was justified!

  7. What will it take for HMRC to be declared UNFIT FOR PURPOSE?

  8. occasionally the soldiers have to tell the generals enough is enough, you're wrong, you're out of order, and its got to change.

    1. Uhh...staff surveys, grievances, meetings, employment cessation feedback, 1-2-1, unions, hubs, straight talking, hasn't and doesn't work as communication is a 2-way process that assumes both sides are listening never mind hearing what the other has said.

      Nah, only soldier like thing in there apart from crap fast tracker types is the fact that it's the proverbial lions led by donkeys story in there.

      Mind you, in Vietnam, the soldiers would toss useless officers a frag grenade, sans pin of course!