HMRC chief admits call-handling struggles have ‘imposed on the patience’ of customers

Written by Jim Dunton and Sam Trendall on 10 December 2020 in News
News

Jim Harra tells MPs performance improved in second half of the year

Credit: Pixabay

HMRC permanent secretary Jim Harra has admitted that the department’s performance in answering phone calls from citizens has suffered this year as a result of transferring staff to coronavirus-response roles. 

The tax agency boss appeared before the Treasury committee this week. He discussed with MPs the dip in the department’s call-handling statistics, and why this had occurred. 

The most recently available data shows that, during October, HMRC took an average of nine minutes and 42 seconds to answer customer phone calls. This represents a slight improvement on the year-to-date figure for 20201 of 10 minutes and 13 seconds. However, the average time taken to answer calls across the whole of the 2019/20 year was just seven minutes and 18 seconds.


Related content


“Throughout this year we’ve not been able to answer calls as quickly as we would have liked,” Harra told committee members. “That has improved since the summer for two key reasons. First of all, we have improved our ability to share our adviser resources and we’ve been able to introduce technology that sends calls out to people at home.

"Secondly, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of resource that we’ve deployed on those Covid-19 support schemes.”

He added: “Nevertheless, we’ve had to impose on the patience of our customers for much of this year  and I am sure, given what remains to be done on Covid-19 and Brexit, we will continue to impose on that for the remainder of this year.”

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Supplier blacklists and non-compliance investigators: Government’s new procurement regime
13 May 2022

Bill introduced during Queen’s Speech proposes a range of reforms

Supercharged: Inside the ONS plan to become a data-science 'powerhouse'
12 May 2022

Five years after being established, the Data Science Campus of the ONS wants to do more to help address government's biggest policy issues – while still retaining its innovative edge. ...

‘Get things right at the start’ – new playbook sets out rules to be applied to all government digital projects
28 March 2022

Document covers issues such as assessments of suppliers and delivery models, and upfront consideration of potential issues with legacy IT

Majority of firms collect personal data, government report finds
19 May 2022

Potential of data economy – and importance of protecting information – highlighted by study