Customer service ‘not in a great place’ at HMRC until 2013

CUSTOMER SERVICE AT HM Revenue & Customs “will not be in a great place” until 2013, the chairman of the department has said.

Mike Clasper told the Treasury select committee that he was not happy about the level of service that HMRC had been providing. He said that much of this poor service had been a result of trying to complete eight years of open cases. This backlog would be completed by the end of 2012 now that the new PAYE system is up and running, he told the MPs.

“I think there will be a period of steady improvement,” he said. “We’re not going to be in a great place until 2013 and we’ll be stronger again in 2014.”

He rejected accusations that staff were disengaged from the customer, but admitted that employees were disenchanted with the work itself. The civil service “does not like change or manage change well” and HMRC “has not given people that need to make change the tools they need”, he said.

However, the department is reducing the layers of management from 13 to seven or eight, he added.

Dame Leslie Strathie said that pensioners were particularly affected by the backlog and apologised to customers for poor service.

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