Morale among HMRC workers falls to new low

by Richard Brooks

09 Jul 2009

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Lesley Strathie, HMRC

Morale at HM Revenue and Customs has plumbed new depths, a recent staff survey seen by Accountancy Age reveals.

Announcing results that HMRC chief executive Lesley Strathie described as 'hugely disappointing', the department admitted that 'of 11 government departments that took part in this pilot survey, HMRC was ranked last overall'.

The results, from this May, are particularly alarming because they represent the views of 53,000 employees, over half the workforce. Among the damning findings, in the largest ever such survey, are that only one quarter of people are proud to work for HMRC and that just 14% describe themselves as 'highly motivated'.

The grim picture from inside HMRC shows a deterioration from two years ago, when the department was already thought to be at crisis point. Then 19% said that 'senior management provide effective leadership', but now the proportion believing HMRC to be well managed has fallen further to 11%.

Among the few positive findings for HMRC to build on was that 57% of staff found their work interesting and 73% thought their teams strived to serve customers better.

Lesley Strathie admitted of the latest figures: 'As a department we cannot afford to ignore these results and my senior management team and I take them extremely seriously'.

Causes of staff dissatisfaction are likely to include 17,000 job cuts made in the last four years, the closure of 90 offices announced late last year and changes in working practices including controversial 'lean' techniques in call centres and processing centres.


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