Colleagues in DMB have been told they are moving to Customer Service. This is the first of many more changes to come in the next year. They are part of and linked to the outcomes of the HMRC Strategic direction and the Spending Review.
The Spending Review has allocated over £100M to “transform” HMRC. The words “digital” and “customer” feature prominently in the announcements that have been made but the main direction of this transformation is to drastically reduce the department in size. Both in the numbers of staff and, by logic with less staff, the estate.
The RCTU has consistently stated we have no objections to joined up easily accessed services for the taxpayer. That will bring about what is called “efficiencies” – usually a nom de plume for staff reductions. They can be addressed with intelligent oversight of the business and intelligent HR solutions. The RCTU remains unconvinced these two actions are visible or in evidence.
That said there remain among members grave reservations about the stated Strategic Direction to deliver the real business of HMRC - Enforcement and Compliance. Success here drives all sectors and sections of HMRC. It is sad to note that on the internal Intranet that comment on articles and features is becoming more restricted and where comments are made they are frequently deleted (breach of the rules governing posts it is said). Is it not legitimate to state that the emperor has no clothes? Stifling open and honest debate will only lead to even worse Staff Survey outcomes. We must be given to wonder if that counts at all now.
The budget is upon us again this week – the Chancellor has stated this weekend that more spending cuts are required. This brings is back to the HMRC budget – a budget for “investment and transformation”. If that is ring fenced then it continues to be the vehicle for change that is questionable. If it is reduced then the change becomes more problematic. Those problems can extend to significant damage to HMRC through errors and mistakes which further harm the reputation of the department and can lead to questions as to why HMRC should exist in its current form (i.e. a Civil Service department). Should further investment come from the Budget then what and how that links to the stated Strategic direction is interesting. The RCTU will not divulge here the new ways of working that are being trialled nor the significant issues with those suffice to say there is a critical need to question the real efficacy of what is being contemplated and trialed as it is patently clear to those of us who are not “courtiers” that the emperor is most definitely without apparel.