HMRC improves! Now only 85% rubbish...
Things are looking up! Even HMRC are getting better at dealing with customers, even if the proportion of complaints upheld by the Adjudicator’s office has only dropped by 5% it’s a start. Right?
The adjudicator’s office has just released its annual report for 2014/15 which shows similar numbers of complaints about HMRC, although a slight improvement on last year’s report with now only 85% of complaints being upheld. While the adjudicator acknowledges that many of the serious complaints about HMRC relate to one specific bad-apple department (benefits and credits), sha also noted that HMRC show “a somewhat limited appetite for reflection and learning from their interaction with customers.” Nice. 1108
Out of the 1,102 total complaints received by the adjudicator’s office, 95% related to HMRC- 1,044 new complaints, just slightly fewer than the 1,087 received in 2013/14. Of the cases cleared this year, the adjudicator upheld a whopping (although improved) 85% either partially or substantially.
The adjudicator also mediated 39% of cases directly between customers and the department and praised HMRC for getting much better at dealing with customers and complaints around PAYE but noted that the latter half of 2014/15 saw a rise in complaints from Benefits & Credits customers about tax credits. But these two areas are still very much determined in the customers’ favour- the number of PAYE complaints upheld decreased to 91%, but for Tax Credits the upheld rate increased to 93%.
In particular, the adjudicator “remains critical” of the number of complaints where HMRC staff failed to consider the circumstances of their ‘vulnerable customers’, and urged the departments to use their discretion. What has also been highlighted in this year’s report is the amount of compensation paid by HMRC in respect of their rubbishness- on occasion, the adjudicator may recommend that HMRC pay a monetary sum to customers in recognition of the poor level of service they received, and any relevant costs. And this compo adds up to quite a tidy sum:
However, the report does suggest that HMRC have implemented new customer care procedures, meaning that this time next year it’ll be a totally different story. Right?