13 November 2015 10:00
HMRC announces modernisation programme in South West England
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced the next step in its ten-year modernisation programme with the creation of a new regional centre in Bristol by 2017-18.
The modernisation programme, now at the halfway point, includes investment in new online services, data analytics, new compliance techniques, new skills and new ways of working, to make it easier for the honest majority of customers to pay their tax, including by improving customer service, and harder for the dishonest minority to cheat the system.
The changes have 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 or find answers to questions.
HMRC’s workforce in the region is currently spread throughout 12 offices, many of which are a legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which range in size from around 390 people to fewer than ten. By bringing them together in a large, modern office, equipped with digital infrastructure and training facilities, HMRC will support more skilled jobs and varied career paths up to senior levels with less need to move around the country. HMRC expects between 1,400 and 1,700 full-time equivalent employees to work in the Bristol regional centre.
HMRC will close most of its existing offices in the South West by 2020-21, as it moves most employees into the new regional centres.
The 11 offices in the South West due to close are:
- Avonmouth, Custom House Closing 2017-18
- Bournemouth, Holland House Closing 2019-20
- Bristol, 101 Victoria Street Closing 2017-18
- Bristol, Crescent Centre Closing 2017-18
- Exeter, Longbrook House Closing 2020-21
- Gloucester, Twyver House Closing 2017-18
- Plymouth, The Apex Closing 2016-17
- Plymouth, Westpoint Closing 2016-17
- Redruth, Piran House Closing 2018-19
- Swindon, Wiltshire Court Closing 2017-18
- Taunton, Michael Paul House Closing 2016-17
The contact centre in St Austell will remain open and later transfer
to the Department for Work and Pensions.
Where offices are a long way from a regional centre and it is not possible for employees to move to work in one, HMRC will do everything it reasonably can to help them to find new roles, either elsewhere in the civil service, or outside, in order to minimise redundancies.
Lin Homer, HMRC’s Chief Executive, said:
“HMRC is committed to modern, regional centres serving every region and nation in the UK, with skilled and varied jobs and development opportunities, while also ensuring jobs are spread throughout the UK and not concentrated in the capital.
“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.
“The new regional centre in Bristol will bring our staff together in a more modern and cost-effective building in an areas with lower rent. It will also make a big contribution to the economy of the South West providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment to a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.”