Timms defends HMRC efficiency drive

Stephen Timms MP has backed the changes which form part of the HM Revenue and
Customs’ operational efficiency programme (OEP), including staff cuts and office

The financial secretary to the Treasury made the comments in an address to a
treasury sub-committee meeting last week.

He said HMRC has reduced its overall staffing beyond targets set as part of
the OEP. The target up until March 08 was 12,500 and the department achieved a
15,000 headcount reduction.

Responding to suggestions by the committee this had contributed to recent
findings of a staff morale survey, Timms conceded there is more to be done.

‘The people survey published in May shows a poor position as far as morale is
concerned, but with some signs of encouragement. Overall it was a disappointing
outcome and HMRC recognises there’s a lot to do to improve morale.

‘There’s been a lot of uncertainty around office closures…there’s a good
deal of work to be done. HMRC is focusing the attention that’s needed on this,’
he said.

Timms also said staffing and value for money targets set as part of the
programme has not ‘got harder as a result of the downturn, but the importance of
it has gone up and more demanding targets have been set.

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