So – Dave Hartnett has become the new ‘permanent secretary for tax’ – a new role designed especially for him.
As far as the department goes this probably ticks all the boxes. Hartnett gets to focus on tax policy – undoubtedly playing to his strengths – but also gets to be a permanent secretary, meaning more clout and more dealing with ministers. It is a recognition of his importance to the department, frankly.
But there is one odd and small point. One of the great criticisms of the Varney structure at HMRC – the McKinsey matrix – was that accountabilities had become confused. Nobody knew who was in charge.
No doubt Dave Hartnett would dismiss the criticism with his usual confident swagger, but it might be worth asking how having three bosses – Hartnett, Lesley Strathie and Mike Clasper – improves that situation.
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