Tax bosses look to boost staff morale

A private HM Revenue &
staff survey has shown that since the merger of Inland Revenue and
Customs & Excise in April 2005, 73% of the 18,000 staff polled believed that
HMRC was changing or about to change for the worse.

board meeting minutes for February
, which were released last week, revealed
that the department’s leadership was extremely concerned by low morale, and that
the issue would be addressed through new programme known as ‘PaceSetter’.

‘PaceSetter’ is part of HMRC’s broader departmental transformation programme,
aimed at improving relationships with taxpayers and bedding down the merger
between the two tax departments.

HMRC plans to use ‘PaceSetter’ to motivate and empower staff, who have been
left demoralised at the prospect of 25,000 job cuts that form part of the
government’s efficiency programme.

‘The Board was concerned strike action and the recent results from the staff
survey reflect levels of staff motivation, but noted that PaceSetter should help
create identification and ownership across the department,’ said the minutes of
the meeting, which was chaired by executive chairman Paul Gray and attended by
HMRC heavyweights Dave Hartnett and Steve Lamey.

The ‘PaceSetter’ programme will attempt to equip staff with ‘leadership
skills’ and create ‘a culture of performance management’ and ‘ownership’ among

There is pressure on HMRC to make the programme work. New chairman Paul Gray
is a career civil servant and some believe he will be more sensitive to staff
concerns than predecessor Sir David Varney.

Tax advisers will also be eager for the programme to have a positive impact,
as efficient and motivated HMRC staff make their work easier.

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