Policy News Journal - 2014-15

Chartered and Certified Accountants, Anthony Browne, British Bankers’ Association, Joanna Elson, Money Advice Trust, Anthony Thomas, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group.

Adjudicator’s office where learning is paramount

20 August 2014

The Adjudicator, who acts as a fair and unbiased referee looking into complaints about HM Revenue & Customs, the Valuation Office Agency and The Insolvency Service, across the United Kingdom has recently published the Annual Report for 2014.

The adjudicator’s office reports on the most recent year of activity namely the 2013/14 tax and year and compares against recent years.

HMRC accounts for the bulk of the adjudicator’s work and the 2013-14 year saw a total of 2,350 complaints being received of which 2,311 were from HMRC customers.

The adjudicator is not able to consider disputes affecting departmental policy or aspects of law instead she looks at complaints about:

 Mistakes  unreasonable delays  poor and misleading advice  inappropriate staff behaviour, or  the use of discretion.

The Adjudicator, Judy Clements OBE, in the forward of her report for 2014 highlighted “you will see that this year I have introduced a new section to my report entitled “Listening and Learning”. I am determined to help departments learn lessons from complaints and improve their customer service still further over the coming years.” This is indeed encouraging as the annual report of 2014 provides details of the amounts paid in redress and 2014 saw a significant increase in liability being given up by HMRC from £905,614 in 2013 to £3,942,549 in 2014 which when added to a significant 90 percent of cases being either partially or substantially upheld, clearly there is still much that can be listened to and learned. The Annual Report 2014 can be read in full at the website of the Adjudicator’s Office.

Withdrawal of HMRC 0845 helpline telephone numbers

27 August 2014

All HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) helplines now have 03 numbers, and the majority of calls by customers use those numbers. To help create a smooth transition to the new 03 numbers, and minimise inconvenience for customers, HMRC have continued to use their 0845 numbers, but they have now announced the withdrawal of these numbers. The HMRC announcement confirms that in December 2014 the 0845 lines to HMRC helplines will stop being used, and all calls to HMRC helplines will need to be made using 03 numbers. To prepare for that change, from late August, customers using 0845 numbers to call HMRC helplines will hear a message letting them know that the 0845 line will be closing. The call will still be handled as normal, but customers will be given the relevant 03 number for the helpline.

CIPP Policy News Journal

08/04/2015, Page 199 of 521

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