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HMRC publishes call centre stats

6th Nov 2012
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HMRC has published its call centre statistics for the first time in a bid to increase transparency. 

In August, HMRC chief executive Lin Homer announced the recruitment of 1,000 extra call centre staff to meet the department's target to answer 90% of all calls. 

The figures will now be published on a quarterly basis and deal with HMRC's eight contact centres across the UK, dealing with tax, tax credits, child benefit, bereavement, employers and an agent dedicated helpline.

Last year, HMRC said call centre performance had improved from 48% of calls answered in 2010/11 to 74% in 2011/2012. 

However, this year appears to have shown a decrease with figures showing 67% of their 22m call attempts this quarter being handled. 

Around 43% of callers waited less than two minutes for their call to be answered, while one in five had to wait between 10 and 20 minutes.

Out of more than 8m calls to the tax call centre, 4% of callers had to wait between 30 to 45 minutes for an answer. 

Customer experience results were also published, with 4,000 customers surveyed.

The tax team rated 68% overall satisfaction, with a 49% rating of 'ease of getting in touch', the lowest of all the call centres. 

The publication of the results is a response to the Treasury Committee's report claiming HMRC had an "unacceptable" standard of service in their 2011 report into HMRC's effectiveness and efficiency. 

The ICAEW, which has worked with HMRC to deliver the Treasury Committee recommendation, said the publication of call centre statistics was a "major step forward" in improving the standard of service. 

Head of tax faculty Frank Haskew said: “Publication of these statistics is a welcome step as part of wider efforts to improve HMRC’s service standards and in particular highlighting concerns with the existing call centre performance."

"As a direct result of our discussions, HMRC also announced that £34m of funding would be reprioritised to fund an extra 1,000 staff to improve call centre performance. For the future we need to ensure that these improvements will be sustained and do not result in a decline in service standards elsewhere. We will continue to work with HMRC to help them make further much needed improvements to service standards," he added. 

Replies (14)

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By JCresswellTax
06th Nov 2012 14:11

Load of pish

Its training they need as well as more staff.

Thanks (6)
By Cloudcounter
07th Nov 2012 08:15


to answer 90% of calls?  Even if the caller waits for 45 minutes apparently?

57% of calls aren't answered within two minutes?  That is an age.  Many businesses aim to answer after two rings, but HMRC don't seem to have any target at all on time to answer.

Of course, the first poster is correct.  If the staff were better trained and got things right, there would be less need for telephone calls.

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
07th Nov 2012 09:06

But 500,000 more taxpayers
I read that the changes to child benefit (withdrawal between £50k and £60k income) will result in up to 500,000 more people being added to self assessment.

I would imagine the new 1,000 recruits will be kept busy!

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By rob winder
07th Nov 2012 13:01


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By JCresswellTax
07th Nov 2012 09:08


They spend years trying to take people out of self-assessment and now they are going to lump another half million back in because of the governments terrible plan of collecting child benefit through self-assessment.

I mean seriously, how much are these guys paid to come up with stuff like this??

Thanks (2)
07th Nov 2012 11:59

Money Money Money

The statistic that I would like to see is how much money HMRC make from leaving people on hold on an 0845 number?  Wonder what my "Customers" would say if charged them for telephoning me.  Suppose they have to pay for the 1000 extra staff from somewhere.

Couldn't agree more with the point made earlier, the majority of my phone calls are to sort out HMRC errors, I have begun to end my calls by saying "Thank you for allowing me to help you correct your records"!!!!!

And aside from completely disagreeing with the whole child benefit issue, why oh why introduce it along with the RTI changes, I know they go together but seriously the complete lack of HMRC training and resources means that we all know it will end in chaos with the poor old tax payer footing the bill to sort it out.

Oh well keeps me in a job.

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By AKing
07th Nov 2012 12:43

Anyone got the link?

Nice to see the news item.

But does anyone have a link to the actual statistics so we can see them in more detail please?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By Rachael White
07th Nov 2012 14:14


AKing wrote:

Nice to see the news item.

But does anyone have a link to the actual statistics so we can see them in more detail please?

Hello AKing, 

Apologies, I thought I had included a hyperlink.

You can now find them by clicking on "call centre statistics" in the first line. 



Thanks (1)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
07th Nov 2012 13:21


With a risk of sounding all private eye

1000 staff for call centers to explain in essence a crazy tax system and to deal with their mistakes (there is rarely a requirement to call otherwise)

100 staff for tax investigations

and presumably 1 member of staff (probably a contractor operating through their own limited company, as I have had several IT clients do with HMRC) devoted to making things better. 

Thanks (0)
By vinylnobbynobbs
07th Nov 2012 13:59

Please Do NOT Call Taxpayers Customers!!

The last time I telephoned HMR&C as a "customer" on behalf of my son it took 27 minutes to get through.

Do they record how many people give up telephoning?

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By leon0001
08th Nov 2012 13:29

Give me strength!

According to the small print:


“% call attempts handled: This is the percentage of all call attempts that are either answered by an advisor or dealt with successfully by an automated message. We count a call as being dealt with successfully by an automated message if the customer terminates the call directly after listening to the particular message.”


So, if you hang up in disgust after waiting for some useful information or contact, which wasn’t in the recorded message; your call has been successfully handled.


And… more than a quarter of calls aren’t answered at all. 

Thanks (1)
13th Nov 2012 11:11





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Replying to ChrisScullard:
By leon0001
13th Nov 2012 11:45

Upper Case

Please don't shout.

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By LanaCCstaff
31st Jan 2014 19:24

What about consideration for HMRC staff!

I am an experienced Tax Credits advisor who would like to give my view of HMRC,

They expect 90% of calls to be answered within the coming tax years although they are getting rid of hundreds of HMRC staff in the next couple of months.

After several extensions from the original 6 month contracts, HMRC are getting rid of the temporary staff by the end of March 2014 throughout the nation, even though it was only recently promised that HMRC will make an up most effort to take 90% of calls. How will this be possible by ending employment for hundreds of staff throughout the UK? As well as having the statistics that there will be more of an increase of Tax Credit customers then ever predicted before, which obviously increases the number of call volume.

I would like to make the point of HMRC having no appreciation for their call center staff that take the brunt and flak of most of the government legislations muck ups. Also they wont make us permanent because they apparently cannot afford to do so, and the question still looms, how can they expect such a high percentage of calls to be answered when they are getting rid of trained staff that have 3 years experience?

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