The RCTU has no argument with allowing greater ability of the average taxpayer to access their accounts with, and to make returns to, HMRC. If the digital agenda extends to better IT and access for all including HMRC staff – that is not an issue.
These are seen as simplifications for the public and businesses but it immediately affects HMRC staff and those who work in these areas. There is every need to immediately understand the impact of these changes on HMRC staff, allow the re-deployment, and job guarantees that such experienced staff require and deserve .
The action regarding “diverted profits” is of course welcome to HMRC staff who have been active in making sure these complex issues have been able to be tackled by HM Government in partnership with international stakeholders.
The area too often talked about and too often not understood at all levels of HMRC and HMG. We need a fresh and invigorated approach that combines not only strategic funding and direction but also one that intelligently utilises skills of the staff, but also addresses the real and actual practicalities of the work.
Funding, as outlined, remains a major potential point of contention. Not the funds for making “the customer experience more accessible” but in the longer-term strategic direction of HMRC. This cannot be divorced from “Building our Future” and the “journeys” therein - as they have been described to staff - but also that digital will not be the all singing and dancing panacea that it seems to be anticipated it will be.
Serious questions are required to be asked of management. Questions that the RCTU will pose and get answers to. We can only pursue exemptions to public sector funding cuts if we engage intelligently, explain and detail (to all stakeholders if required) the value of HMRC combined with maintenance of staffing levels.
The choice is confrontation without coherent explanation (as is the PCS way) or explanation to critically posed and intelligently framed questions that require answers that cannot be avoided.
The RCTU is not about to ask HMRC staff to sacrifice themselves for no return - as has been the case all too often recently . Time to change. Time to be part of the solution.
Further Budget comment, as required, will appear in the news section of this website.
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