Latest Public Sector News

18.12.12

NAO criticises HMRC customer service performance

HMRC performance represents poor value for money for customers, a new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) states.

Some elements of customer service have improved from a low point in 2010, and in 2011-2012 HMRC answered 74% of calls, against a target of 58%. However, this is still low, NAO warned.

Performance in handling calls was found to be varied, and in 2011-12, customers had to wait an average of 282 seconds to speak to an advisor. The estimated cost to customer sin call charges whilst in the queue is estimated at £33m. The NAO has estimated that the value of customers’ time while they are in the queue is £103m.

The NAO recommends that HMRC switches to a cheaper 03 phone number to improve value for money for the customer.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The taxpayers and claimants who phone HMRC do not have a choice about whether they interact with the department. Despite some welcome improvements, HMRC has acknowledged that its performance in providing services to the public has been unacceptable.

“HMRC faces difficult decisions about whether it should aspire to meet the service performance standards of a commercial organization. It could do only by spending significantly more money or becoming substantially more cost effective.”

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