HMRC chief executive Lin Homer has announced the recruitment of up to 1,000 additional contact centre staff to bring forward a target of answering 90% of all calls.
Homer plans to invest £9m this year and up to £25m in 2013-14 to reach the call centre industry standard two years earlier than HMRC originally promised the Treasury Select Committee.
The decision to invest in extra HMRC staff was taken after consultation with the Joint Initiative on HMRC Service Delivery (JIHSD), which involves professional bodies and tax charities.
HMRC said call centre performance had improved in the last couple of years, answering 48% of all call attempts in 2010/11, and 74% in 2011/12. Homer added that the quality of the advice people received when they got through was good, but admitted they hadn’t been answering enough calls.
“Our target of achieving contact centre industry standards of 90 per cent of calls answered first time is the right target. But after hearing the views of customers, stakeholder bodies and our own staff, we have speeded up our timetable for achieving it.”