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HMRC Office Closures

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

 

As I write I am watching the debate on BBC Parliament. MPs are making valid points not least about the lack of consultation with them, the public and staff. As you know from HMRC Intranet announcements – this was not a consultation – you were being informed of decisions. Decisions we have shown that were taken many years ago and are based on assumptions – some of them anyway. The other factors in the decision remain, at best, opaque.

 

Major urban locations costs more per square metre to house staff – where are the savings there? (x number of staff = x number of square metres whatever way you cut it – oh there is the Autumn Statement tomorrow and the CEO has said 21% - maybe that is correct and not 30% but it equals severe staff losses and that in the current climate of more staff for phones means compliance staff and staff in current urban “regional locations” too – no-one is immune)

Are staff still to travel to deal with evasion and fraud across the UK? Carbon foot print calculations/ equality for carers/ work-life balance/extra remuneration – the last one was accompanied by the a fly past of pink pigs.

Equality Impact Assessments have been mentioned by MPs – quite correctly but as no-one is moving yet we are not at that stage - yet (war of attrition it has been said unless the forthcoming Line of Business announcements speed up the process – piecemeal of course therefore less impact and of course time and the passage thereof is an attrition all of it’s own)

MPs have mentioned tax risk by geography and we all know that tax evaders are happy to video conference – I am unable to write the full explicit truth here as that would surely break the Official Secrets Act.

Work/life balance, equality and diversity issues are subverted by pronouncements of being closer to Universities – a senior members of staff said to me recently – “so many straws, such wind and so many clutching hands”.

Let us be clear – this is what I wrote in March 2014.

 

  • We want new technology

  • We want a better service to the public

  • We want modern efficient offices

  • We recognise that work can be done either location or non location specific

  • We do not want to be privatised for failure (can everyone pleased stop saying how much is being collected – [ next sentence deleted on legal advice ])

 

There is an efficient business case for the above – it is not false economics unlike other proposals.

We want to see the complete holistic business case for the proposed changes – because so far only HMRC senior leaders and ministers seem to have that.

I write before the outcome of the vote tonight – we shall see.

Tomorrow – Autumn Statement – Spending Review (21 or 30 or more?) – we will comment on that later this week.

A final word to the staff survey  - better in places but worse when it came to senior leaders managing change – and this was before the Estate and Business changes being announced. HMRC have said they are “listening to you”.

 

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