Business

Revenue bosses given thumbs down

HMRC sign
Image caption Morale and confidence in senior management is far worse in HMRC than the rest of the civil service

A staff survey at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed a startling lack of faith in its senior management.

Only 9% of staff believed that change at HMRC was usually for the better; only 11% agreed that change was well managed; and only 11% had confidence in decisions made by senior managers.

The official survey, organised by the Cabinet Office, obtained 51,266 replies from staff - a 69% response rate.

A Revenue spokeswoman said the results were "really disappointing".

Overall staff "engagement" was judged to be worse than when measured in a similar survey last year and was worse than this year's result for the civil service as a whole.

Other departmental survey results will be released in the next two months, the Cabinet Office said.

'Through the floor'

Despite launching high-profile campaigns against tax dodgers, senior management at the HMRC came under severe criticism when they revealed, in September, that nearly six million people had been charged the wrong amount of tax via the PAYE system.

About 1.4 million people have been told they owe an average of £1,428 each, amounting to about £2bn, in the past two tax years.

And about 4.3 million people will get a rebate of about £400 each because they have been charged collectively £1.8bn too much.

About 20,000 HMRC jobs have been cut in the past few years as part of government efficiency drives and 200 offices have been closed.

Another 12,000 posts are are scheduled to be cut by 2015 as part of the government's current programme of reductions to state spending.

"These results are entirely predictable," said a spokesman for the main civil service trade union the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

"Morale is through the floor because staff have been cut to the bone and they don't think they can do their jobs properly."

Results

The survey results also indicated:

  • 12% of its staff said HMRC was well managed
  • 25% agreed their pay adequately reflected their performance
  • 25% were satisfied with their "total benefits package"
  • 23% felt their pay was reasonable.

Poor morale was revealed when staff were asked if they were proud to tell others they worked for the Revenue.

Just 15% said they were; and only 12% said they would recommend the organisation as a "great place to work".

As a result, 25% of respondents said they wanted to leave HMRC either as soon as possible, or within the next 12 months, though 58% saw themselves staying for at least three more years.

"HMRC is up against it, but management is regarded as broadly incompetent nor able to manage change," said Pete Lockhart, a national officer of the PCS.

Higher rating

The survey results for the whole civil service people survey, covering nearly 325,000 staff, were published on 6 December with a response rate of 62%.

It was the second time such a survey had been carried out and revealed a much higher level of morale.

More than half - 55% of respondents - were happy to tell others that they worked for a civil service department and 42% said they would recommend their department as a "great place" to work.

Although only 23% said changes were usually for the better, and only 27% agreed that change was managed well, the overall management of their department's was rated more highly, with 41% agreeing that their department was managed well.

Only 8% of staff said they wanted to leave as soon as possible and only 11% said they wanted to do so in the next year.

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