Paul Stafford has won awards for his work on morale and skills at the Inland Revenue, yet remains anxious about measuring the value added. Lucie Carrington reports
The Inland Revenue must be the least popular organisation in UK - seemingly taking our hard-earned cash in ever more ingenious and complex ways.
Hardly surprising, therefore, that self-image and motivation can be a bit of a problem among revenue staff.
Head of training in the Welsh and Midlands region Paul Stafford and his colleagues have spent the past four years using their resources to improve morale and confidence among the 7,000 staff in the region.
It’s not just the general unpopularity of tax collecting they have coped with, there has been immense change at the Revenue. Massive downsizing that took place under the last Conservative government was followed more recently by policy changes, such as self-assessment and merging with the Contributions Agency. This brought more work, but not significantly more hands.
The training team’s efforts have paid off. By the end of last year they had picked up a Power in Partnership Award from Business in the Community, two awards from the Prince’s Trust and been short-listed for two National Training Awards. The BIC and National Training Awards were a first.
Stafford attributes his team’s success to the way members have used their expertise to deliver a broader people strategy covering everyone in the region.
The strategy was the brainchild of former regional director Malcolm Kirk. Four years ago he and Stafford decided more needed to be done to help staff cope with change. It was about culture change too, and the aim to turn the revenue into an enabling organisation - one that wants to help people get their tax right, rather than just catches them out when they get it wrong.
“Our vision is forward-thinking in public sector terms. We want people to be competent, confident, involved, motivated and proud,” Stafford says.
One of his key themes is the importance of recognising that different people learn in different ways. He and his team - called the learning workforce - have therefore developed a raft of training and development programme