HMRC admits missing all call waiting time targets this year

HMRC admits missing all call waiting time targets this year as inquiries surged amid the pandemic

  • HM Revenue & Customs ‘did not deliver customer service we would have liked’
  • It conceded these problems were likely to continue to hamper service next year
  • Call wait times started rising in March and peaked at 14 minutes 59 seconds
  • Nearly 30 per cent of callers were forced to wait for more than ten minutes 

The taxman has admitted missing all call waiting time targets this year as inquiries surged during the pandemic.

HM Revenue & Customs said it ‘did not deliver the customer service we would have liked’, citing a lack of resources and a spike in demand.

And it conceded that these problems are likely to continue to hamper its service next year.

Call wait times started rising in March, when the UK first went into lockdown, and peaked at an average 14 minutes 59 seconds in May, according to HMRC’s annual report.

HM Revenue & Customs said it ‘did not deliver the customer service we would have liked’, citing a lack of resources and a spike in demand (file image)

Nearly 30 per cent of callers were forced to wait on the phone for more than ten minutes, double its target of 15 per cent. Last year the figure was 19 per cent.

The average wait has risen by around a quarter since last year from five minutes 14 seconds to six minutes 39 seconds.

The taxman’s target for both years was five minutes. It means it has missed both goals two years running, during which time average wait times have increased by almost 50 per cent.

It blamed Brexit for much of its woes, saying it had prioritised preparations for leaving the EU last year, leaving a backlog of work. 

The report said it diverted an average of 400 customer service staff per month to work on Brexit, peaking at 1,000 redeployments in October last year.

The shortfall was made worse by the fact it recruited 268 fewer staff to its customer service team than planned this year.

It conceded that these problems are likely to continue to hamper its service next year. Call wait times started rising in March, when the UK first went into lockdown, and peaked at an average 14 minutes 59 seconds in May, according to HMRC’s annual report. Pictured, HMRC building

The pandemic then saw a spike in calls.

But the taxman insisted performance improved from May onwards as staff adapted to working from home.

It said it now has 7,000 trained call handlers working remotely.

HMRC chief executive Jim Harra added: ‘We experienced more demand than expected in our call centres. 

‘Coupled with resourcing challenges carried forward from 2018 to 2019, it meant we didn’t meet all our full-year customer service targets.’ 

Source: Read Full Article