HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has today announced the next step in its ten-year modernisation programme to create a tax authority fit for the future, committing to high-quality jobs and the creation of two new regional centres in Croydon by 2016-17 and Stratford by 2019-20.
The modernisation programme, now at the halfway point, includes investment in new online services, data analytics, new compliance techniques, new skills and new ways of working, to make it easier for the honest majority of customers to pay their tax, including by improving customer service, and harder for the dishonest minority to cheat the system. The changes have already resulted in over 80 per cent of people filing their Self Assessment returns online and given customers new, simple ways to check their payments, make changes or find answers to questions.
HMRC’s workforce in the area is currently spread throughout 43 offices, many of which are a legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which range in size from around 2,000 people to fewer than ten. By bringing them together in large, modern offices, equipped with digital infrastructure and training facilities, HMRC will support more skilled jobs and varied career paths up to senior levels with less need to move around the country. HMRC expects between 5,000 and 5,300 full-time equivalent employees to work in the Stratford regional centre and 2,500 to 2,800 full-time equivalent employees in the Croydon regional centre.
HMRC will close the majority of its existing offices in London, South East and East of England by 2020-21 as it moves most employees into the new regional centres, but some will stay open much longer.
We will also have two specialist centres in Worthing and Dover in the South East.
Where offices are a long way from a regional centre and it is not possible for employees to move to work in one, HMRC will do everything it reasonably can to help them to find new roles, either elsewhere in the civil service, or outside, in order to minimise redundancies.
Lin Homer, HMRC’s Chief Executive, said:
“HMRC is committed to modern, regional centres serving every region and nation in the UK, with skilled and varied jobs and development opportunities, while also ensuring jobs are spread throughout the UK and not concentrated in the capital.
“HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and out-dated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.
“The new regional centres in Stratford and Croydon will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents. They will also make a big contribution to the economy of the region providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment to a national recovery that benefitsall parts of the UK.”
The changes will enable HMRC to give customers the modern services they now expect at a lower cost to the taxpayer, meeting the Government’s challenge for all departments to do more with less.