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.

Monday, 24 October 2016

#HartnettGate - OSA Breached

Regarding Hartnett's briefing to journalists in 2012.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but don't HMRC employees have to sign the Official Secrets Act (OSA)?

That being the case, does this briefing not constitute a serious breach of OSA?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. HMRC staff do have to sign the Official Secrets Act at the beginning of their employment and are reminded of their responsibilities regularly. They are also subject to the rule of law like anybody else. I would have thought potential offences for such a SERIOUS breach could include the common law crime of Misconduct in a Public Office, and offences under the CRCA 2005, DPA 1998 and the aforementioned OSA.

    HMRC appear to be a law unto themselves, but:

    What action is being taken against Hartnett and HMRC?


    Does anybody know if its true that you can make a written complaint to the Director of Public Prosecutions and they will be duty to investigate the case?

    If action is not taken, or if there they just try and cover it up, any tiny amount of credibility that might be left in Hmrc will be completely eroded.

  2. HMRC allow bullying of staff to go on unabated, so what does that tell you about the type of organisation we are looking at here. Therefore I am not surprised by Hartnett's conduct.

  3. I am sure that this apparent breach of the law and the lack of a subsequent transparent investigation has had a negative effect upon compliance. How HMG let alone HMRC can expect people to comply with their legal obligations beggars belief.
    The PM should act quickly and openly to change this perception and as an example that law breaking, whatever your place in society, will not be tolerated.
    Hartnett has a track record for arrogant contempt for the taxpayer an example being when he was forced in no uncertain terms to apologise some years back.
    This affair has caused reputational damage and needs to be reversed.

  4. If the public can see that alleged criminality inside HMRC is subject to the same rule of law as it would be in society generally, it would indeed send a strong message as suggested above. Anything less, be it silence, cover-ups, excuses or a total fudge will severely further undermine trust & confidence in the diminished reputation of HMRC and moreover would create a perception that people in authority are above the law.

  5. Edward Troup apparently told the PAC previously that ending taxpayer confidentiality could result in less revenue. This is the same Edward Troup who is now the EXECUTIVE chairman in an apparent job share with the Chief EXECUTIVE Jon Thompson. The implication is that any breach puts tax at risk i.e. a potential threat to our public finances. I therefore call on Messrs Troup & Thompson to do their duty and refer the allegation against Hartnett to the appropriate authority (the police?) for investigation so that the public are reassured it is being considered in a robust but fair & even-handed manner.

  6. Jon Thompson's HMRC Twitter updates us all on his social life once more, but it makes no mention of the current chaos at HMRC. One would think its all going swimmingly...

    1. The idea of putting Thompson on twitter, with his social & what could be called political content, is supposed to make HMRC look very modern. Yes they should have an HMRC twitter account but there's no need for the CEO to have his own. Never forget that the elites think media management is more important than the reality. HMRC do not look very modern when they walk on by & look the other way while employees lives are being made hell through the thuggish bullying...
      as they say all spin and no substance - that's the real HMRC.

  7. Allegations of criminality at HMRC? I am shocked. I thought they were our holier than thou moral superiors

  8. Being absorbed into the former IR mindset was shocking, spineless mid-managers and timid staff afraid of their own shadows. Mix with the Kafkaesque Toyota Lean philosophy that is so effective that Toyota has one of the largest worldwide recall histories ever.
    What the taxpayer has ended up with is a brutish useless tax administration run by bullying ineffective managers who waste money with no effective administrative oversight or accountability.
    Of course, the former Customs system had produced bullying managers of its own, sneered at by the judiciary and other parts of the legal system due to the arrogant managers who believed themselves above the law.
    HMRC has been left alone effectively and allowed to run riot over basic rights and legal responsibilities.
    Surely this can no longer be ignored by the politicians?

    1. It is observed that Theresa May has started to bring a new rectitude into public administration, restoring some integrity to it all, in just a few months. She needs to go further however - HMRC are an overly powerful Government Dept who for good or bad, whether we like it or not, most people have the misfortune of having to deal with and they must not be overlooked.

      We have all seen the revelations from very poor customer service for the masses to special deals for the rich, from the Concetrix tax credit debacle through to casual law breaking and the thuggish authoritarian bullying of their own staff. Their arrogance is breath taking. They are not, or at least should not be put, above the law and I would repeat what the above anon comment says that this surely can no longer be ignored by the politicians?

    2. Not sure what the above comment about 'timid staff' afraid of their own shadows means with a little more detail? Perhaps it refers to HMRC staff too scared to objectively deal with the public without fear or favour e.g. they lack the courage to do the job they're being paid to do such as say no to silly payment requests etc??? Genuine poor performance is allowed to continue unabated in HMRC.

      Those targeted by management for make belief 'poor' performance tend to be the stronger performers who have integrity but who happen to also be the people who aren't socially popular within HMRC and/or refuse to be become an HMRC clone and/or refuse to become a yes person and/or refuse to join in with the bullying and/or question doing things which bring no benefit to the Department's objectives. Such people should be rewarded but are instead belittled and degraded, while the real poor performers provide little value for money but are not taken to task and often over-promoted.

      Bullies do like people in their own image. A little accountability and independent oversight of the HMRC would be a good place to start.

    3. Timid = showing a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened,
      Frightened = timorous, easily frightened, lacking courage, fearful, apprehensive, faint-hearted,
      As defined, as seen
      Perhaps if this applies to the majority of staff it becomes easier to understand how the bullies and psychopaths have run riot within?

  9. Still no announcement from HMRC or others as to any investigation into alleged criminality revealed in the recent court case. Call me cynical but I'm starting to wonder whether its going to suppressed and covered-up, surely not?

  10. HMRC does see itself as above the law in many ways. They apparently turn a blind eye to law breaking and downright evil bullying of staff, but their arrogance goes across many areas: who remembers their 'single departmental plan' for 2015-2020 includes a commitment to tackle tax planning? Last time I looked tax planning was entirely legal and has been encouraged by Parliament, now they're trying to blur the lines in order to get people to voluntarily overpay tax (that would be the implication of it) and so it appears HMRC now think they can re-write the law - they're an utterly out of control monster who need to be brought to heel before they inflict more damage on the integrity of the system.

  11. Several weeks on from the Ingenious case it is notable that there has been no public announcement from HMRC about referring the criminal data breaches for prosecution.

    After leaving HMRC Dave Hartnett went to work for Deloitte. Nothing wrong with that per se, but according to reports, in his official HMRC role he had routinely dealt with Deloitte on major tax deals and had met with their chairman on 48 separate occasions. Given that, is it any surprise that HMRC are just turning a blind eye to the breaching of taxpayer confidentiality?

    Looking at it all objectively from the information in the public domain it stinks.

  12. Perhaps all those staff whom HMRC have taken action against for breaching taxpayer, 'customer' surely, confidence should appeal?

    1. Well, the law applies to all, surely. However HMRC do seem to pick and choose whom to take action against and whom to blind eye to. In my view law breaking can never be justified, but if HMRC have a 'pick & choose' policy it is discriminatory (there's their commitment to Equality in practice) and they leave themselves open to appeal. Take action in all cases or none at all, anything less is more than a little dodgy and some may call it corrupt.

      What would be more appropriate is for all the cases where HMRC refused to take action against certain staff, even when faced with strong evidence, to be sent for independent review. Any staff involved in historic cover-ups should then be held to account and sanctioned.

    2. From information which is a matter of public record, some HMRC staff have been dismissed or prosecuted for unlawful data breaches.

      How come then other data breaches have just been covered up and not even sent for consideration of disciplinary or prosecution?

    3. THERE IS A THEME HERE: HMRC cannot be trusted to self-police/self-regulate their own organisation and employee discipline, without fear or favour and in a non-discriminatory way.

      Never has the case for a 'Minister for Tax' been more urgent. There is also an overdue need to allow the IPCC to get in HMRC and ensure the law, rules & regulations are being applied to ALL staff, not just some. The current inaction from HMRC undermines public trust & confidence in the system.