HMRC incompetence


P

PeterSaxton

Paul Gray resigns after another example of incompetence.

Why don't they get someone in who would shake up the organisation
rather than carry on with the usual incompetent ways?

Peter
 
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A

Alan Ferris

Paul Gray resigns after another example of incompetence.

Why don't they get someone in who would shake up the organisation
rather than carry on with the usual incompetent ways?
You think he was actually responsible! DOH!

Try blaming the Government who forced him to sack anybody who knew
what they were doing! Early retirement schemes to avoid sacking's got
rid of most of the experienced.


--
Alan "Ferrit" Ferris

()'.'.'()
( (T) )
( ) . ( )
(")_(")
 
D

DoobieDoo

DildotheSextoy said:
Paul Gray resigns after another example of incompetence.

Why don't they get someone in who would shake up the organisation
rather than carry on with the usual incompetent ways?
like you for instance?

ptoopid question, slap around the head.
 
R

Robin

Why don't they get someone in who would shake up the organisation
rather than carry on with the usual incompetent ways?
Like Nick Montagu who knew nothing about tax and filled most of the top
posts with similar people?

Like David Varney who was hardly "usual" and some have suggested knew
even less about tax (for example, the need to declare offshore
accounts)?

And Paul Grey's prompt resignation on the "buck stops here" principle is
a damn sight more than we usually get from Ministers (or got from
Northern Rock).
 
P

PeterSaxton

Like Nick Montagu who knew nothing about tax and filled most of the top
posts with similar people?

Like David Varney who was hardly "usual" and some have suggested knew
even less about tax (for example, the need to declare offshore
accounts)?

And Paul Grey's prompt resignation on the "buck stops here" principle is
a damn sight more than we usually get from Ministers (or got from
Northern Rock).
The problem is that most people don't even understand what the
problems are or know how to put them right. This is shown by the
stupid replies above - not including Robin's reply, of course.

Obviously Gray didn't lose the data personally but he was in charge of
an organisation which is run so incompetently that the best people
leave and the rest are running round like headless chickens. I was
told yesterday that the current time to answer post is 40 days and
they say that no recording of letters is done so they can't even
confirm that my letter is in the system! I'm still waiting on a simple
VAT registration that was made over three months ago! HMRC say that
even presently their target is two weeks to process VAT registrations.

The reality can be seen in the BBC news article http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7104395.stm

Some examples are:

<<<Speaking anonymously - as he has signed the Official Secrets Act -
one worker who recently left HMRC after more than 10 years' service
told the BBC News website that he was not surprised to hear of the
blunder. "I wasn't surprised in the least when I heard the news," he
said. "The problems with Child Benefit are only the tip of the
iceberg. "Morale is non-existent. Mistakes happen continuously. Rooms
full of unopened post are not uncommon.">>>

<<<"When the merger was introduced, job duplication meant that many
experienced people were made redundant," the anonymous ex-employee
said. "So we lost many of our best people. "Others were moved from
pillar to post, and the experience hit morale even harder. "The lowest
paid were all laid off, and all of their workloads were added to
everyone else's." He complained that after a system called 'lean
processing' was introduced, jobs were divided up into their individual
parts - every aspect was dealt with separately, and no-one has overall
ownership or responsibility for the task, he said. "Arbitrary
individual hourly targets meant that people cut corners," he added.
"It doesn't matter if you make mistakes because you won't be held
accountable. "There is no trust between management and staff. "You are
like a number. It is utterly demoralising." Eventually, he said, he
felt he had to get out because of low pay. "I've spoken to some of my
former colleagues about the Child Benefit blunder, and they are
utterly apathetic," he said. "It's just one thing on top of
another.">>>

Morons may say that Gray wasn't responsible but if you are asked to do
a job then you should only take the job on if you have the tools to do
the job properly. Getting rid of experienced people isn't a sensible
option and should be opposed. The exception to this is the military,
of course. Commanders are not able to resign because cuts have
resulted in too few personnel and too little equipment.

Can anyone spot anybody of ability in the Government? It seems to be
full of arse lickers.

Peter
 
T

Tony Bryer

And Paul Grey's prompt resignation on the "buck stops here"
principle is a damn sight more than we usually get from Ministers
(or got from Northern Rock).
The difference is that in Northern Rock's case, the problems are
directly due to decisions made by the top men.

Where, as here, the problems are down to someone well down the
tree, I have little patience with the notion that the man at the
top should do the decent thing and resign:

Firstly, stuff happens - of course it shouldn't but it does - and I
would rather have large organisations run by people who have had
experience of such issues from which they have hopefully learned
lessons, than people who to date have been lucky. The real
'villain' here is the person who made it possible to copy so many
records onto a CD.

Secondly, given that stuff happens and that as head of a large
organisation you cannot know every detail of what happens at the
grassroots - indeed you would be a bad manager if you insisted on
micromanaging and second-guessing your subordinates (Gordon Brown
please note) - who in the right minds would want the top job if
they can have a comfortable life in a second or third tier level
job, a bit less money but a lot less flak. Especially in the public
sector where doing well will just result in a gong, not the massive
stock options etc of the private sector. If we would rather have
second rate people running massive state enterprises, calling for
scalps on a regular basis seems a good way to get them.
 
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R

Robin

The difference is that in Northern Rock's case, the problems are
directly due to decisions made by the top men.

Where, as here, the problems are down to someone well down the
tree, I have little patience with the notion that the man at the
top should do the decent thing and resign:
I'd agree if this were the first time HMRC (or its predecessors) had had
problems with data security. But the loss did not come out of a clear
blue sky.
Firstly, stuff happens - of course it shouldn't but it does - and I
would rather have large organisations run by people who have had
experience of such issues from which they have hopefully learned
lessons, than people who to date have been lucky. The real
'villain' here is the person who made it possible to copy so many
records onto a CD.
I agree violently with the last point. I suspect it was a legacy system
from the Child Benefit Agency. But HMRC could (should?) have audited it
by now. And, as you hint, it is not just the risk of data being lost in
transit. Staff in a position to copy the data to send to the NAO can
just as easily walk out with it.
Secondly, given that stuff happens and that as head of a large
organisation you cannot know every detail of what happens at the
grassroots - indeed you would be a bad manager if you insisted on
micromanaging and second-guessing your subordinates (Gordon Brown
please note) - who in the right minds would want the top job if
they can have a comfortable life in a second or third tier level
job, a bit less money but a lot less flak. Especially in the public
sector where doing well will just result in a gong, not the massive
stock options etc of the private sector. If we would rather have
second rate people running massive state enterprises, calling for
scalps on a regular basis seems a good way to get them.
I naturally agree with the point about pay rates in the public sector.
And what you say about second-guessing also chimes with the new civil
service. But I'd also say managers should seek assurance on critical
risks - including critical risks to the business's reputation - and that
should cascade down the line. On that, interesting that I've seen no
mention of Steve Lamey who was recruited from the private sector at an
eye-watering (for the civil service) salary as Chief Information Officer
for HMRC - a post he held for 3 years until October when he became chief
operating officer.
 
S

Simon

Robin said:
Like Nick Montagu who knew nothing about tax and filled most of the top
posts with similar people?

Like David Varney who was hardly "usual" and some have suggested knew
even less about tax (for example, the need to declare offshore
accounts)?

And Paul Grey's prompt resignation on the "buck stops here" principle is
a damn sight more than we usually get from Ministers (or got from
Northern Rock).
Yes, he resigned immediately and his staff did not even kill anyone!
 
S

Simon

Robin said:
I'd agree if this were the first time HMRC (or its predecessors) had had
problems with data security. But the loss did not come out of a clear
blue sky.
What incident are you referring too, I cannot remember any such loss of
data from IR or HMRC.
I agree violently with the last point. I suspect it was a legacy system
from the Child Benefit Agency. But HMRC could (should?) have audited it
by now. And, as you hint, it is not just the risk of data being lost in
transit. Staff in a position to copy the data to send to the NAO can
just as easily walk out with it.
Oh what utter tosh. This is not a case of unauthorised access to data.
The poor sod who is being vilified in the press is the sap who put the
disks in a jiffy bag and posted it.

It takes a number of steps and authority to export this sort of data
export and the NAO where not only entitled to the data, HMRC where not
in a position to refuse without questions being asked in he house and
then getting ordered to supply it.

The problem is there was a very high level decision to do away with the
ld inhouse internal mail system and outsource this to TNT. And what
about TNT, they have given no explanation as to what THEY did with the
packet.

Nobody seems to mind that "Call me Nick" outsourced the whole IT system
to EDS and even though they were supposed to keep all data onshore,
nothing was done when EDS used the US based back up system.
 
S

Simon

PeterSaxton said:
The problem is that most people don't even understand what the
problems are or know how to put them right. This is shown by the
stupid replies above - not including Robin's reply, of course.

Obviously Gray didn't lose the data personally but he was in charge of
an organisation which is run so incompetently that the best people
leave and the rest are running round like headless chickens. I was
told yesterday that the current time to answer post is 40 days and
they say that no recording of letters is done so they can't even
confirm that my letter is in the system! I'm still waiting on a simple
VAT registration that was made over three months ago! HMRC say that
even presently their target is two weeks to process VAT registrations.

The reality can be seen in the BBC news article http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7104395.stm

Some examples are:

<<<Speaking anonymously - as he has signed the Official Secrets Act -
one worker who recently left HMRC after more than 10 years' service
told the BBC News website that he was not surprised to hear of the
blunder. "I wasn't surprised in the least when I heard the news," he
said. "The problems with Child Benefit are only the tip of the
iceberg. "Morale is non-existent. Mistakes happen continuously. Rooms
full of unopened post are not uncommon.">>>
What rooms, that is bullshit made by someone who is so out of date its
not true. the days of sacks of unanswered post was in the late eighties.
<<<"When the merger was introduced, job duplication meant that many
experienced people were made redundant,"
There have been no redundancies at all, there have been some Volantary
Early retirement.

the anonymous ex-employee
said. "So we lost many of our best people. "Others were moved from
pillar to post, and the experience hit morale even harder. "The lowest
paid were all laid off, and all of their workloads were added to
everyone else's." He complained that after a system called 'lean
processing' was introduced, jobs were divided up into their individual
parts - every aspect was dealt with separately, and no-one has overall
ownership or responsibility for the task, he said. "Arbitrary
individual hourly targets meant that people cut corners," he added.
"It doesn't matter if you make mistakes because you won't be held
accountable. "There is no trust between management and staff. "You are
like a number. It is utterly demoralising." Eventually, he said, he
felt he had to get out because of low pay. "I've spoken to some of my
former colleagues about the Child Benefit blunder, and they are
utterly apathetic," he said. "It's just one thing on top of
another.">>>
What a load of rubbish. We dont count post its true, but we do sample
check specific letters and test the time it takes to respond, the
service target is a responce within 15 working days and there is hell to
pay if that target is not met. every single piece of post is datestamped
wit the day of receipt and the deadline for responding, so 40 days is a
crock.

I wont deny that Morale is low but thats because they are all looking to
see what office going to be closed next.
 
R

Robin

It takes a number of steps and authority to export this sort of data
export
I'll readily defer to you on that as I have no first hand knowledge of
the CB system.
Nobody seems to mind that "Call me Nick" outsourced the whole IT
system
to EDS and even though they were supposed to keep all data onshore,
nothing was done when EDS used the US based back up system.
Actually the EDS contract was signed in 1994, well before
he-who-must-be-named became Chairman in 1997.

But it may well feel it was longer:)
 
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P

PeterSaxton

PeterSaxton wrote:

What rooms, that is bullshit made by someone who is so out of date its
not true. the days of sacks of unanswered post was in the late eighties.
Okay, they maybe don't put them in rooms but they must be somewhere
because letters don't get answered promptly.
What a load of rubbish. We dont count post its true, but we do sample
check specific letters and test the time it takes to respond, the
service target is a responce within 15 working days and there is hell to
pay if that target is not met. every single piece of post is datestamped
wit the day of receipt and the deadline for responding, so 40 days is a
crock.
So why has there been no response to my letter to Paul Gray well after
15 days? I'm talking about Paul Gray not some nobody who can take
several days leave regularly without anybody noticing. Why was I told
yesterday that it is presently taking 40 days to answer letters?

Why has a standard letter been sent in response to a VAT registration
application after more than three months.

Simon, it would appear that you are believing the standard bullshit
spouted by HMRC rather than the realities of the incompetence that
they are trying to hide by the spouting of lies. They really think
that by lying often enough some people will believe the lies.
I wont deny that Morale is low but thats because they are all looking to
see what office going to be closed next.
I agree that may be part of the reason but staff also see that their
work will not improve the fundamental problems caused by bad decision
making by top management and Government officials.

Peter
 
P

PeterSaxton

Yes, he resigned immediately and his staff did not even kill anyone!
If their worked involved dealing with people's physical wellbeing
their incompetence would have killed many people just like happens in
the NHS with cuts made to basic services such as A&E to enable top
management to waste money on their salaries.and PR companies which
will tell everybody how good top management are. More examples of the
"lying culture" to be found in government and quasi-government
organisations.

Peter

Peter
 
P

PeterSaxton

The difference is that in Northern Rock's case, the problems are
directly due to decisions made by the top men.

Where, as here, the problems are down to someone well down the
tree, I have little patience with the notion that the man at the
top should do the decent thing and resign:
The problems are NOT "down to somebody well down the tree". That
person is the scapegoat for practices that have been accepted for a
long time. The problem is with HMRC top management not ensuring that
proper procedures are not in place throughout the organisation. It
should be possible to ensure that large amounts of data are only
transferred electronically under secure conditions by people who
refuse to be intimidated by management morons who encourage employees
to take risk in an attempt to save money.

I've previously mentioned that recently offices in Scotland have taken
responsibility for a lot of taxpayers based in South West London. Some
idiot thought that a South West London office wasn't the best place to
deal with them. Unfortunately, it would appear that nobody told the
South West London office to transfer the records to Scotland! Maybe
they did but they gave the CD to TNT! Think of the most stupid thing
to do; multiply it by 10 and the answer is what HMRC decide to do.

HMRC are run by idiots and the sooner people realise it the better.

Peter
 
S

Simon

PeterSaxton said:
Okay, they maybe don't put them in rooms but they must be somewhere
because letters don't get answered promptly.

So why has there been no response to my letter to Paul Gray well after
15 days? I'm talking about Paul Gray not some nobody who can take
several days leave regularly without anybody noticing. Why was I told
yesterday that it is presently taking 40 days to answer letters?
Paul Gray was the Chairman of the department. What on earth makes you
think that he is personally going to be replyng to you. someone would
look into what you have written and this would then be passed to a local
customer servce manager to respond. Do you really think that the
Chairman of any major organisation, that they will deal with this
personally. Try writting to the Chairman of Ford UK because the local
garage charged ou for an oil change and didn't bother.
Why has a standard letter been sent in response to a VAT registration
application after more than three months.
I believe VAT registrations are an exception but there are plans in
place to address this.
Simon, it would appear that you are believing the standard bullshit
spouted by HMRC rather than the realities of the incompetence that
they are trying to hide by the spouting of lies. They really think
that by lying often enough some people will believe the lies.
I had a conversation with my Business unit head on the subject of mail
only the other day, and there will be hell to pay if we have not
responded to mail within 15 working days. I am commenting on what is
happening in my office. I know that similar conditions exist on all
Local Compliance offices in London. Prcessing Offices may have different
conditions but they have the same customer service targets.
 
S

Simon

The problems are NOT "down to somebody well down the tree". That
person is the scapegoat for practices that have been accepted for a
long time. The problem is with HMRC top management not ensuring that
proper procedures are not in place throughout the organisation. It
should be possible to ensure that large amounts of data are only
transferred electronically under secure conditions by people who
refuse to be intimidated by management morons who encourage employees
to take risk in an attempt to save money.
This incident is not about routine data being sent. Its not like a
business sending in its payroll or financial records. This is a
specialised export of data and then stored as encrypted CD's that are
then sent via the only means avalable.

We dont have common IT systems between each department. We do have the
GSI but that is for email and is not considered secure, this would have
been a far greater risk. The decisions on IT solutions between
government departments is a political decision.
I've previously mentioned that recently offices in Scotland have taken
responsibility for a lot of taxpayers based in South West London. Some
idiot thought that a South West London office wasn't the best place to
deal with them.
This was a direct result of a politial decision to reduce the department
by 12500 staff and another to move a further 12500 staff from London to
the provinces. a decision was made to move the work that was dealt with
by two of the 10 offices, South West London and next is the old
Westminster Area post code areas.

The files have been sent, in bulk by specilaist movers. This is all part
of the political motivation to remove all local offices from London as
the maintainance of these offices is not cost effective when considering
the costs of an office in Glasgow, Liverpool or Leeds.

The staff would have had no part in this decision as this would have
been akin to Turkeys voting for Christmas.

Unfortunately, it would appear that nobody told the
 
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S

Simon

PeterSaxton said:
If their worked involved dealing with people's physical wellbeing
their incompetence would have killed many people just like happens in
the NHS with cuts made to basic services such as A&E to enable top
management to waste money on their salaries.and PR companies which
will tell everybody how good top management are. More examples of the
"lying culture" to be found in government and quasi-government
organisations.
I was referring to Sir Ian Blair, and his complete lack of any sense of
responsibility for the loss of life in one instance and the caseless
shooting of another "Innocent".
 
P

PeterSaxton

Paul Gray was the Chairman of the department. What on earth makes you
think that he is personally going to be replyng to you. someone would
look into what you have written and this would then be passed to a local
customer servce manager to respond. Do you really think that the
Chairman of any major organisation, that they will deal with this
personally. Try writting to the Chairman of Ford UK because the local
garage charged ou for an oil change and didn't bother.
I didn't expect Paul Gray to reply to me personally. I am surprised
that you thought that was the case. I would still expect that he would
have better procedures in place for replying to his mail than the
majority of the incompetents at HMRC.

The problem is that if anybody phones HMRC and asks about a problem
department 1 will refer you to department 2 and department 2 will
refer you to department 1! Another common response is -
PS: "Can you tell me why ....
HMRC: "I don't know"
PS: "Can you pass me to someone who does know"
HMRC: "I don't know who knows"

Regularly my clients have their names changed on my online list of
clients. Nobody can tell me why this happens. A few days after I call
the name is changed back again. There doesn't seem to be a way of
finding out why this happens. Of course there is a way but none of the
staff who answer the phones know. They are shown how to spell "tax"
and "VAT" and then let loose on the phones!

My clients gets issued with two UTR and after I explain the problem
and get told one will be cancelled it is none done and they get a
penalty for not submitting two tax returns. We then go through the
pantomime of getting the penalty notice cancelled and a promise to
cancel one of the UTR. It goes on like this ....

The online client list can be in alphabetical order but it is the
stupid HMRC version of alphabetical order. Some names are entered all
in upper case and other names are entered using the first character in
upper case and the rest in lower case. When sorted upper case comes
first followed by lower case. Why would any sensible person use this
system? This means that SMITH is sorted before Saxton.

I have a partnership client called "Dynamic Signs". This is on my
client list as "Signs Dynamic"!

You may say, these are errors, all it takes is a phone call and it
will be put right. This may be the case in an efficient organisation
but not HMRC. I have one client who I cannot get authorised as their
agent by entering their details online. HMRC take three months to tell
me they have fixed it but it still isn't fixed.

HMRC have staff who make a lot more mistakes than other organisations
and they are managed by incompetent people. Accepting the scale of the
problem is the first step to putting it right but people in HMRC are
not willing to accept the level of incompetence that exists.
I believe VAT registrations are an exception but there are plans in
place to address this.
I'm sure there were "plans in place to address this" two years ago
when delays started occurring but I was not reassured then and I am
not reassured now.
I had a conversation with my Business unit head on the subject of mail
only the other day, and there will be hell to pay if we have not
responded to mail within 15 working days. I am commenting on what is
happening in my office. I know that similar conditions exist on all
Local Compliance offices in London. Prcessing Offices may have different
conditions but they have the same customer service targets.
Having a target doesn't make HMRC efficient. I don't know of one
letter I have sent that has been answered within 30 working days. Why
be inefficient and cut staff? Wouldn't it be better to become
efficient and then the excess staff can be moved elsewhere?

Peter
 
P

PeterSaxton

This incident is not about routine data being sent. Its not like a
business sending in its payroll or financial records. This is a
specialised export of data and then stored as encrypted CD's that are
then sent via the only means avalable.
We have been told that the data on the CDs were not encrypted.
We dont have common IT systems between each department. We do have the
GSI but that is for email and is not considered secure, this would have
been a far greater risk. The decisions on IT solutions between
government departments is a political decision.
Are you saying that sending CDs is the most efficient way of
transferring large amounts of data within government departments?
This was a direct result of a politial decision to reduce the department
by 12500 staff and another to move a further 12500 staff from London to
the provinces. a decision was made to move the work that was dealt with
by two of the 10 offices, South West London and next is the old
Westminster Area post code areas.
Why reduce staff when the present staff are struggling to cope with
their workload? It would appear that the service they provide is not
valued. Many mistakes are bound to happen. So what? They can make an
apology in the House of Commons and blame it on civil servants!
The files have been sent, in bulk by specilaist movers. This is all part
of the political motivation to remove all local offices from London as
the maintainance of these offices is not cost effective when considering
the costs of an office in Glasgow, Liverpool or Leeds.

The staff would have had no part in this decision as this would have
been akin to Turkeys voting for Christmas.
Is moving things around and not having the records available to the
employees in the new offices a very efficient way of running an
organisation. There seems to be much reliance on hoped for future
efficiency at the cost of present chaos. This attitude has been going
on for years.

Peter
 
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P

PeterSaxton

I was referring to Sir Ian Blair, and his complete lack of any sense of
responsibility for the loss of life in one instance and the caseless
shooting of another "Innocent
I understand that. In my work I am not likely to cause the death of
anybody from anything I do but that doesn't absolve me from attempting
to be efficient. Paul Gray didn't want to stand up to Ministers
because they would have sacked him so he waited for the inevitable
cock up and then went. We need top management with a sense of
responsibility who will say it as it is not craven arse lickers
desperate for a monthly salary.

Peter
 

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