HMRC appoints second perm sec to lead transformation

Customer service head Angela MacDonald is promoted

Credit: Gary Todd

Angela MacDonald, director general for HM Revenue and Customs’ customer service group, has been promoted to become the tax agency’s second permanent secretary and deputy chief executive.

MacDonald will take up the up to £160,000-a-year role, which has been vacant since Jim Harra was promoted to perm sec in October, next month.

She will be responsible for implementing the department’s strategy, and will be accountable for the customer compliance and customer services groups, comprising more than 50,000 people.

And she will also oversee the department’s transformation plans, once described by Harra’s predecessor Sir Jon Thompson as the “the biggest organisational transformation in Europe”.

This includes the Making Tax Digital reform programme; rolling out a new customs declaration service for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December; and completing HMRC’s office rationalisation programme to create 13 regional hubs across the UK.

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Over the last three years, MacDonald has led “significant improvements and modernisation… across the board” in HMRC’s customer services, the department said in its announcement this week.

In a statement, MacDonald said she was “so proud of what we’ve delivered over the last few months as we’ve come to the aid of businesses and individuals right across the UK” amid the coronavirus crisis.

“That dedication and innovation is clear to see in each and every team within HMRC and I now look forward to taking on this new challenge as we move forward together,” she said.

MacDonald spent 20 years working for Norwich Union, the UK arm of the multinational insurance company Aviva, before joining the civil service in 2009.

After four and a half years at the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, she became operational excellence director at the Department for Work and Pensions in 2013, where she oversaw 7,500 staff working on delivery and transformation of services. From there she joined HMRC in 2017.

Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said MacDonald’s “blend of operational experience, gained in a variety of leadership roles both in the civil service and in the private sector, will be invaluable as she joins Jim Harra in leading HMRC’s 65,000 people through the next phase of the organisation’s ambitious transformation programme”.

Harra added: “Angela succeeded in a tough competition for this role, and she brings a proven commitment to creativity and operational excellence with her as she moves on from her time leading our customer services group.”

HMRC will open recruitment for MacDonald’s successor as customer service director general “soon”, it said.


Sam Trendall

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