Your Charter and the new Customer Experience Committee

HMRC published a new Taxpayer Charter, called Your Charter, in 2009 and at the same time set up an oversight Committee which was known initially as the Charter Advisory Committee.

The original Your Charter was amended in 2016 as a result of the work of a review group including Ian Young and John Whiting. At that time the oversight Committee became the Charter Committee. Ian Young stepped down as chair of the Charter Advisory Committee: but took on an advisory role to the new Charter Committee for a 12 month period.

The most recent annual report of the Charter Committee, published in summer 2018, indicated that the Committee was going to change again into the Customer Experience Committee

HMRC published an 11 page leaflet HMRC Independent Adviser setting out the role of the independent advisers and the make-up of the new Committee : Jim Harra is joined by three HMRC Independent Board members as well as five of the new independent advisers.

The role of the new Committee is explained in the leaflet as follows:

“A sub-committee of the HMRC Board playing a crucial role in supporting and challenging the Executive on customer experience-related issues to help the Department in delivering its mission.

The Committee will examine key issues that the Executive Committee is grappling with and help HMRC in addressing them, ensuring the focus is on putting customers first.

Our agenda will clearly link with the agenda of the HMRC Board and Executive Committee, addressing high profile items which are of material interest to the Department’s successful customer handling.”

There has not been a great deal of other information about the new arrangements for Your Charter but there is some information in the HMRC response to the House of Lords report on the powers of HMRC: treating taxpayers fairly.

The report notes that the independent advisers have now been appointed following an open competition.

The HMRC response also indicates that “HMRC is currently reviewing Your Charter”

If Your Charter and the work of the new Customer Experience Committee are going to play a key role in the working and behaviour of HMRC then it would be helpful if there was more transparency about what is going on rather than having to rely on the annual Your Charter report each July and ad hoc mentions in miscellaneous documents such as the current HMRC response to the House of Lords report.