Human resources team to lead major revamp at HM Revenue & Customs following capability review

Human resources professionals within the government department responsible for a massive data security breach last year are set to play a leading role in the organisation’s future.

Writing as part of the department’s response to its capability review, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) acting chairman Dave Hartnett has set out a future action plan.

News broke that the department had lost two discs containing the personal details of 25 million child benefit claimants as the capability review, an in-depth examination of the department’s performance, was being carried out.

Hartnett, who stepped up when former chief Paul Gray resigned in the wake of the scandal, said the review had highlighted “major strengths” in HMRC, including “bright and committed” employees and a clear desire to improve.

A shake-up of the department’s management structure to clarify responsibilities is to be undertaken, with board members’ skills and experience assessed. He said a programme of “sustained engagement” with staff on HMRC’s corporate vision, led by senior managers, would start later this month.

The pace of business change will also increase, Hartnett said. This includes speeding up the “reshaping of the workforce”, driving up performance and increasing efficiency savings.

A new talent management strategy is to be implemented from March 2008, a focus on new skills such as change management introduced, and recruitment processes will be rejuvenated.

The HR team will also be charged with revamping the department’s performance management processes, and providing improved training and coaching for managers.

“Taken together, these actions form an ambitious, but achievable, plan to deliver the world-class service that our customers deserve,” Hartnett said.

Senior public servants’ union the FDA warned that the department’s change programme needed to be “well designed, correctly funded and introduced with appropriate sensitivity”.

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