The Institute of
Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) suspects the answer into
how HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) managed to lose the confidential details of
25 million child benefit claimants are likely to be deep rooted and point to the
need for a much wider reform of HMRC’s management and operational practices.
Frank Haskew, head of the ICAEW tax faculty, said the management of HMRC needed
to be improved if the lessons from this incident were to be learned.
‘HMRC and government need urgently to rethink the approach to service
delivery and what operational changes are needed to ensure that problems such as
this do not recur,’ he said. ‘These are issues that we commented on recently in
our contribution to the Cabinet Office’s capability review of HMRC.’
David Hartnett, newly appointed
chairman following Paul Gray’s shock resignation, has published a letter of
apology on the Internet assuring benefit claimants the copy of the data were
‘likely to still be on Government property’. He said the police were now
conducting a search. There was no evidence the data were in the possession of
anyone else and child benefit payments would not be affected.
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