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Government processes programme ‘not value for money’

The NAO has said that HM Revenue & Customs’ PaceSetter Programme to streamline business operations seems to have improved productivity and staff engagement – but cannot yet be considered value for money.

That is because the extent to which efficiency has improved is not clear, the NAO report said. It adds that some key principles of process improvement are not yet being applied strategically across the entire organisation and embedded into the Department’s core processes.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “PaceSetter is travelling in the right direction but not fast enough. After five years HMRC’s approach to process improvement should be better measured, more sophisticated and more ambitious in its transformation of the department.”

Through PaceSetter, the department has pioneered the use of process improvement techniques in central government.

These have included the redesign of claim forms, the standardisation of procedures across offices and more tailored approaches to checks based on risk.

The NAO said: “The Department estimated that productivity improvements due to PaceSetter between 2005-06 and 2010-11 are equivalent to £400m of resource savings and £860m of tax yield. However the extent to which these reported savings represent overall efficiency improvements is not clear, in part because of the limited evidence on overall trends in business performance. PaceSetter aims to engage frontline staff in continuously improving the way they work and so improve staff motivation. The Programme has had a small positive impact on staff engagement but overall it is still low.

“HMRC does not have a full understanding of the costs of PaceSetter.”

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