HMRC wasting money on research | AccountingWEB

HMRC wasting money on research

Last week I was phoned by a market research company (separate from HMRC ...note!) and was asked a lot of questions about my use of HMRC website. On querying who they were working for I was told that the caller was a private company contracted to undertake research for HMRC's Research dept. I recall receiving a letter that was an 'opt out' namely 'if you dont want to take part in the research let us know otherwise we'll assume you dont mind us ringing or when to call'. I also remembering thinking at the time what a waste of postage and paper.

I cant remember all of the questions asked but the call lasted at least 10 mins and the questions were along the lines of:

Do you use Toolkits?

How many times do you go onto the site per day/week?

At what time of the day do you use the website?

Have you advised clients of the website and its contents?

Do you use government gateway?

How many work in your office ?etc etc

Apparently for this research 1,500 accountants were being contacted. Having answered what I could as the questions were obviously directed at firms other than small firms such as mine I asked for contact numbers of who was running the research and was given the number of a HMRC Senior Research Officer based in London.

So, having in mind the possibility of using the experience as the basis of an article along the lines of 'HMRC are finally asking your opinion' (!) I rang the number with my suggestion of an article along the lines of why they were doing this research, what they hoped to achieve, whether this was the first of many, what was their criteria, who would have access to the results etc etc.

Answer?? First the lady had never even heard of accountingweb ('I'm a researcher - other colleagues might be aware of the site') and then declined my offer on the grounds that the the research was nearly over and that they wouldnt want additional  info. She didnt get it - I mentioned the article could be viewed as 'free advertising' of the work of the Research dept and she wasnt interested. Their loss I suppose! But it must have cost HMRC (sorry..I meant us...the taxpayer) financially.

As the study was on the use of the website why not include the questions on the accountants section for free.



Old Greying Accountant's picture

Personally ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... I object to any unsolicited mailing that requires action to prevent further intrusion - that is the one area where I support the human right to a peaceful life

I do nothing and when they call say a polite thanks but no thanks.

At least the HMRC letter gives you an opt out, unlike the National Statistics questionaires for which a response is mandatory under law, and once you get one for a client you groan as you know you will get at least 3 more!

petersaxton's picture

Partial waste of time

petersaxton | | Permalink

Surely they can get most of the answers by looking at the website logs?

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