HMRC training strategy is undeveloped, says NAO

THE TAXMAN is unaware of how much money it is spending on skills development or whether it is in the right places, a National Audit Office report has found.

The study, released today, showed that HM Revenue & Customs spent £96m on skills training in 2010/11, but that was not spent on top-level business priorities. There was also evidence from staff surveys and externally that HMRC does not have all the skills it needs to meet its objectives. The department also does not know where there are gaps in skills, the report said.

However, it did find some examples where HMRC’s investment has contributed to the recent improvements in tax collection. Specifically, skills training for staff transferred into enforcement and compliance work has helped, the auditors said.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “At the level of the business as a whole, HMRC has no strategy to manage the £96m it spends each year on skills. Although the department is doing much to make sure it has the skills it requires, it needs a more systematic approach, where spending on skills is linked explicitly to the organisation’s overall business objectives and a vision of how it should look in the future.”

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