HMRC Management has today announced a Voluntary Exit Scheme (VES) targeted at around 500 AA Grades in over 70 offices, primarily in Local Compliance. This is in addition to the scheme that will now be running in PT Ops as a result of the decision on the future of the Enquiry Centres.
PCS has been advised, but not consulted, on these plans. We remain opposed to these cuts and believe that instead there should be investment in HMRC to close the tax gap and deliver a quality service. We believe that the timetable for this scheme does not give members enough time to fully consider the options before then which could include life changing decisions. Our advice to members being made this offer therefore is:
- Do not feel rushed into making any snap decisions.
- This is not a redundancy exercise and you need to hear all of the facts and options so you can make an informed decision about your future.
- This is a scheme aimed at reducing the number of AAs through seeking volunteers. It does not mean that all AA jobs in the sites where offers are being made will go and we have been assured that there are no plans to move those who do not apply to the redeployment pool.
Whilst HMRC has made it clear to us that this is a voluntary scheme aimed at reducing numbers, the fact that this is the second scheme in a few months aimed at the AA Grade clearly indicates the direction that the Department is taking. Some members being made offers today were excluded from the November scheme on the basis that roles were available for them; others have transferred across from other business streams in the last year as a part of team moves. It is clear that departmental plans are changing rapidly and this is leaving AA members who thought they had secured a future in HMRC facing uncertainty and potentially hard choices.
Our experience during the last VE exercise shows us that our key task at this stage of the process is to prevent members from being pressured into volunteering for a package that they would have to be offered again, on the same terms, if they were made surplus in future. This is required by the rules of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.
These are voluntary exit packages which HMRC has decided to offer on the best terms available to reduce AA numbers. This scheme in itself does not put members at risk of redundancy if they do not want to volunteer. Members should read the departments supporting material carefully as this sets out how the scheme will work, what the implications are for staff who choose not to volunteer and what commitments are being made to them.
PCS is opposed to cuts and closures in HMRC and is developing a department wide staffing campaign to demand a fully resourced HMRC that can deliver a quality service and close the tax gap.
Any questions or concerns about the contents of this briefing should be sent to Paul Barnsley, Margi Rathbone Helen McFarlane or Lorna Merry. Their email addresses are Paulba@pcs.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com and Lornam@pcs.org.uk
Lorna Merry – GEC Member
Margi Rathbone – Deputy Secretary
Helen McFarlane – Assistant Secretary