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HMRC has announced details of the next stage of its modernisation programme, which promises to deliver large, modern regional centres, highly skilled staff and better services.

Regional Super-Centres

HMRC plans to replace its 170 countrywide offices, some of them with fewer than ten people, with 13 large, modern regional centres in Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Stratford and Croydon, which will house between 1,200 and 6,000 people.

Lin Homer, HMRC’s Chief Executive, said: “HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices.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.”

There will also be four specialist sites in Telford, Worthing, Dover and at the Scottish Crime Campus in Gartcosh, handling work that is done in conjunction with HMRC’s IT suppliers or other government agencies or departments. The first new regional centre will open in 2016-17, with others following between 2017 and 2021.

A Highly Skilled Workforce

HMRC say the digital infrastructure and training facilities in their new regional centres will allow for greater career development and enable them to build the more highly-skilled workforce that’s required to ‘meet the challenges of bringing in more revenue from those evading tax and improving its customer service to the honest majority.’ The scheme is also predicted to generate estate savings of £100 million a year by 2025, much of it through moving staff and work out of expensive central London offices.

“The new regional centres will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents,” said Lin Homer. “They will also make a big contribution to the cities where they are based, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment for a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.”

HMRC’s modernisation programme has 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 and find answers to questions.

On the Move

The tax authority, which raised a record £517 billion for public services last year, expects the majority of staff to transfer from their current offices to a regional centre, and is phasing the moves over ten years to minimise redundancies. However, its eventual aim is to have fewer staff as it introduces new technology and streamlines its operations.

HMRC’s investigators and field force will remain a mobile workforce, covering the entire country as and when needed to make contact face-to-face and serve individuals with additional needs.

 

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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