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HMRC call centre figures “major step forward” – ICAEW

THE RELEASE of statistics detailing HMRC’s handling of calls from taxpayers has been hailed as a “major step forward in improving standards” by the ICAEW.

The figures, which measure the number of call attempts, calls handled and how quickly calls are taken, will be released quarterly from now on.

Over the last quarter, 58% of the 8,115,885 calls made to the department’s contact centres were taken, with 44% answered inside two minutes. Some 23%, however, waited between ten and 20 minutes to speak to someone.

Frank Haskew, head of ICAEW tax faculty, said: “The ICAEW and other professional bodies have worked closely with HMRC to deliver this key Treasury Committee recommendation. Publication of these statistics is a welcome step as part of wider efforts to improve HMRC’s service standards and in particular highlighting concerns with the existing call centre performance.

“As a direct result of our discussions, HMRC also announced that £34m of funding would be reprioritised to fund an extra 1,000 staff to improve call centre performance. For the future, we need to ensure that these improvements will be sustained and do not result in a decline in service standards elsewhere.”

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