HMRC Charter annual report: 2021-22

20 July 2022

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publish a Charter which details what you, as an individual or a customer, can expect from them. Each year they publish a report examining how they have held up to the standards within the Charter.

HMRC recognises the impacts the pandemic had on customer service, agreeing that service levels are still below where expected. Stakeholders and customers reflected this in feedback. Resources have needed to be reallocated various time to keep up with changing priorities in phone services and post workload.

The report looks at what HMRC has done to uphold the standards of:

  • getting things right
  • making things easy
  • being Responsive
  • treating You Fairly
  • being Aware of Your Personal Situation
  • recognising that someone can represent you
  • keeping your data secure
  • mutual respect.

An independent adjudicator, Helen Megarry, commented that compliance has increased significantly through being more customer focused, highlighting the value of the Charter. She concluded “the Charter is a golden opportunity for HMRC to really change and become an example to the civil service about the value of good service. We hope that in the next year we will see greater emphasis on ‘selling’ the Charter to HMRC staff in all areas. The worry is that this will become an initiative that withers on the vine. We know that it has huge, fundamental value.”

Also acting as an independent assessor, the Charter Stakeholder Group, which the CIPP takes part in, provided a joint response and review of HMRC’s performance against the Charter standards. The following points were noted:

  • volume of negative feedback has increased considerably
  • coronavirus response generally considered good, however, this has meant diverting resources away from other areas
  • customer service levels remain the largest area for concern
  • concern that performance targets were not set for 2021-22
  • reduced opening hours of phone lines, and closing the webchat service, make it important callers obtain a resolution during their first HMRC contact, unfortunately, this seems decreasingly likely
  • HMRC lacks consequences if it fails to meet its Charter standards
  • more transparency is required as to how the standards are embedded throughout the organisation’s culture
  • engagement has increased between HMRC and stakeholders, a beneficial outcome of the coronavirus response.

It is a positive thing that HMRC actively seeks feedback from stakeholders. We welcome as much transparency and accountability as possible in the process and will assist in whatever capacity we can.

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