Revenue suspends board after review into lost child benefit data discs

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has suspended its main board after an external review highlighted leadership failings in the wake of its loss of two CDs containing the child benefit data on 25 million people.

An interim panel of advisers from the private sector will help to oversee the department’s 85,000 people, working in 600 offices. HMRC keeps computer files on more than 30 million taxpayers, reports Personnel Today’s sister title Computer Weekly.

The new advisers will sit on a board called the Executive and Advisers’ Committee. HMRC acting chairman Dave Hartnett will chair the committee. He said HMRC had decided to “pause the board in its current format and to appoint an interim panel of advisers for six months, allowing a shift in focus and skills”.

Chancellor Alistair Darling faced an outcry in November last year when he announced that two unencrypted CDs had gone missing after HMRC officials sent them to the National Audit Office by courier. Since the incident, three non-executive directors have stepped down, one director has resigned and another has moved to another job. The previous acting chairman, Paul Gray, was moved to another Whitehall role.

The reorganisation follows a government capability review, which highlighted fundamental weaknesses in leadership at HMRC in December. The review also said the top team lacked the right kind of external support, expertise and challenge to carry out its responsibilities effectively.

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