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HMRC responds to the June 2019 Adjudicator’s report

2 March 2020: HMRC is working to improve its complaints handling procedures and customer experiences, according to the government’s response to the Adjudicator’s 2019 annual report.

The Adjudicator’s report was published in June 2019 and set out a number of recommendations based on insights from investigated complaints, reports and real-time tracking conducted in 2018 to 2019.

A month later the Financial Secretary to the Treasury confirmed in a written ministerial statement on HMRC powers and safeguards that HMRC would provide a published response. This response was published by the government on 24 February 2020 and covers five themes:

Complaints handling:

HMRC is developing a new operating model for complaint handling which aims to ensure complaints are identified and resolved at the first opportunity. HMRC has also launched a new digital channel to allow taxpayers to contact the Adjudicator.

Learning from complaints:

HMRC is to conduct a deep dive exercise to assure and, if needed, improve further the use of insight from customer complaints that are not escalated to the Adjudicator.


HMRC’s customer services group is exploring a new approach for complaints handling, and its customer compliance group is carrying out a programme of work focused on professionalism and improving customer experience. This includes refreshing HMRC’s professional standards for compliance work, as well as a number of operational improvements to the management of casework. The customer experience committee is currently overseeing a review of the Charter, which sets out what taxpayers can expect from HMRC. ICAEW members have been urged to share their views on the proposed changes to the Charter.

Specific issues relating to complaints:

The response explains the actions that HMRC has taken in response to specific topics raised by the Adjudicator - NHS Widening Access Scheme, the transition from tax credits to Universal Credit and treatment of delays.

Collaborative working:

A number of initiatives have been undertaken to ensure collaborative working between HMRC and the Adjudicator. This includes a revised service level agreement, the establishment of HMRC’s Customer Experience Committee in December 2018, and the Complaints Insight Board.