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RTI blamed for fall in customer service standards at HMRC

September 3, 2013


HMRC’s quarterly review of its performance has identified that they missed their targets for customer call and post handling for the period April to June 2013.  Performance is evaluated against a range of measures, including compliance, operational and customer service factors.

While some areas of HMRC’s performance improved in the period to June 2013, they reported a failure to meet their performance targets in customer service.  This was largely attributed to the introduction of RTI, and the attendant strain this put on their call centres.  77.6 per cent of all call attempts were handled in Q1, some 12.4% below HMRC’s target of 90 per cent, and well below the performance of Q4 2011-12.  The report outlined several contributing factors which led to this fall in performance, including “technology-related issues, and putting extra people on our employer helplines to ensure strong performance during the introduction of RTI.”

The summary also stated that HMRC had decided to delay the introduction of automated speech features on their phone lines to allow them more time to “fine-tune” the service.  The new features had been intended to increase the number of calls HMRC were able to answer during the introduction of RTI, but is only now being trialled ahead of a wider roll-out.

HMRC’s post-handling performance also fell in the first quarter of 2013 as post handlers were redirected to the phone lines in order to help absorb the increased volume of calls caused by RTI.  70.3 per cent of post was handled within the target time of 15 working days, which was below the 80 per cent target set by HMRC.  The report emphasised that staff have received “Significant training” to allow them to handle more enquiries and internally-generated work items, and HMRC expects “to see performance in this area improve throughout 2013-14.”

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