HMRC publishes Respect at Work report

HMRC leaders last year commissioned Laura Whyte, former HR Director at John Lewis Partnership, to carry out an independent review of what it’s like to work in HMRC to help the department become the values-driven and inclusive employer it’s committed to becoming

HM Revenue and Customs has welcomed Laura Whyte’s 2019 Respect at Work report, and has accepted all of its recommendations, with immediate effect.

We will now undertake a full review of our policies, processes and standards to ensure we provide our employees with a working environment they deserve, and a culture that meets our values.

The report found that most people in HMRC have amazing dedication, pride and commitment in the work they do and come to work every day to do a good job, serve customers and support their colleagues. And they expect and deserve to work in a safe, tolerant and supportive environment.

Laura Whyte believes this positive approach can be built on to deliver a place of work that brings the HMRC values to life in the everyday experiences of all our people.

Sir Jonathan Thompson, Chief Executive, HMRC said:

"I take seriously the scale of the challenge that HMRC has. As a result of the report, we will take forward immediate, fast-paced work to reform our policies and processes, make our data systems more robust, and most importantly communicate more clearly what behaviours we expect to see.

"It is for HMRC leaders to champion and take forward this work and for HR and other specialists to support – but we all have our part to play in responding to the Respect at Work report."

And Laura Whyte added:

"My report has sought to assess the gap between HMRC’s stated ambitions and the reality on the ground. I’ve identified a range of areas for HMRC to consider taking action, and I know from my conversations with HMRC’s leadership that they are committed to addressing this issue."

Laura Whyte’s main findings and recommendations include:

• building on the amazing dedication, pride and commitment our people show in the work they do and the commitment of the HMRC executive committee and others to making HMRC an even better place to work

• that HMRC tackles ‘low level’ behaviours that would not be acceptable in other environments through setting clear standards of behaviour from the get-go of induction, through to training and policies

• that policy and processes used across HMRC should be improved to deliver a better experience for everyone

• using mediation more extensively across the organisation to help address problems before they need to be taken to formal processes

• enhancing the experience of colleagues with a disability through better reasonable adjustments and raising awareness of mental health conditions

• improving its data-driven approach to people by investing time and resources into examining how people data is used and collected in the organisation