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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet
HMRC staff tell it how it is
12/06/2009, by Sarah Laing, Tax News - Professionals in Practice & Industry
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The latest staff survey for HMRC has been quietly published on the HMRC website.

It shows that HMRC now come bottom in more categories than any other government department surveyed.

As the Low Income Tax Reform Group (LITRG) predicted a year ago, the decline in HMRC staff morale has been bad for low-income customers who depend upon such staff getting things right. This last year has indeed seen a deterioration of service in many areas while the latest survey of 50,000 staff shows that the decline in morale is continuing and, indeed, accelerating.

The figures below give an inkling as to why this might be so.

The latest survey

The following are a few of the key statistics highlighted by LITRG, where HMRC results were the worst out of the 11 departments. Only:

11% feel that HMRC is well-managed
17% would recommend HMRC as a great place to work
24% think learning and development is adequate
12% thought HMRC energised them to go the extra mile
22% thought talent was recognised
9% think that when changes are made they are for the better
11% think change is managed well
51% felt that they had the tools and equipment needed to do the job

HMRC did come top in two categories; being trained in data handling and security and being aware of HMRC processes.

It could be argued that such a poor result merely shows the effects of the recession and cut-backs in the Civil Service generally. But that alone does not explain HMRC’s poor performance when compared with the 10 other government departments surveyed.

The relevance for customers

HMRC came 9th out of the 11 departments in striving to serve their customers better. But this result may be explained by the fact that 94% of HMRC staff believe that there are too many approval processes for routine decisions and very few believe that a positive result will occur at the end of any improvement process.

Contented, motivated, trained, and trusted staff do serve their customers better.

A year ago, LITRG recommended a moratorium on job losses and a real focus on the customer. Neither happened, so is it any wonder that the HMRC morale is really rock-bottom now?

LITRG

LITRG is a group of like minded people who joined together with the support and encouragement of the Chartered Institute of Taxation to give a voice to those people on low incomes who battle against the complexity of the tax/benefits systems.

Contact Name: John Andrews (0844 579 6700 Fax 0844 579 6701)

About The Author

Sarah Laing
Editor, TaxationWeb News

Sarah is a Chartered Tax Adviser. She has been writing professionally since joining CCH Editions in 1998 as a Senior Technical Editor, contributing to a range of highly regarded publications including the British Tax Reporter, Taxes - The Weekly Tax News, the Red & Green legislation volumes, Hardman's, International Tax Agreements and many others. She became Publishing Manager for the tax and accounting portfolio in 2001 and later went on to help run CCH Seminars (including ABG Courses and Conferences).

Sarah originally worked for the Inland Revenue in Newbury and Swindon Tax Offices, before moving out into practice in 1991. She has worked for both small and Big 5 firms. She now works as a freelance author providing technical writing services for the tax and accountancy profession.

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