HMRC names new deputy CEO

Angela MacDonald has been named as the HMRC’S new deputy chief executive, succeeding Jim Harra who vacated the position in October 2019 when he took on the top role as HMRC’s chief executive

MacDonald is currently director general for the customer services group at HMRC, a role she has held since 2017, following a four-year stint at the Department for Work and Pensions. Before joining the Civil Service in 2009, MacDonald worked in a number of leadership roles at insurance group Aviva.

Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, said: ‘I am delighted that Angela has been appointed as second permanent secretary at HMRC. Her blend of operational experience, gained in a variety of leadership roles both in the Civil Service and in the private sector, will be invaluable as she joins Jim Harra in leading HMRC’s 65,000 people through the next phase of the organisation’s ambitious transformation programme.’

Jim Harra, HMRC chief executive and first permanent secretary, said: ‘Angela succeeded in a tough competition for this role, and she brings a proven commitment to creativity and operational excellence with her as she moves on from her time leading our customer services group.’

MacDonald takes up her new role on 1 August, and HMRC said a competition will soon commence to appoint her successor to lead the customer services group.

MacDonald said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for which I’m tremendously grateful. I’m so proud of what we’ve delivered over the last few months as we’ve come to the aid of businesses and individuals right across the UK.

‘That dedication and innovation is clear to see in each and every team within HMRC and I now look forward to taking on this new challenge as we move forward together.’

HMRC has faced severe criticism in the past for poor customer service, notably highlighted in a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report in 2015. Since then, the department has introduced a series of measures to cut telephone call waiting times and speed up postal responses.

In an inquiry into HMRC’s annual report and accounts last year, which was curtailed by the announcement of the general election, PAC noted improvements but made a number of recommendations.

Shortly before the Covid-19 crisis began, HMRC responded, indicating that it has been developing a new customer service performance framework which will to set targets with a broader overview of customer experience, in line with PAC’s recommendation.

The response also revealed that the department has had to revise its approach to recruitment to customer service facing roles, aimed at driving up candidate numbers and reaching all diversity groups.

The move included replacing verbal and numeric testing, which was impacting candidate numbers and leading to up to 50% of candidates deselecting themselves from the process, with situational judgement testing.

HMRC said this has resulted in higher candidate retention through the recruitment process and has delivered strong candidates into the business. It has also streamlined its processes, resulting in a

a 20-day improvement in the time to hire candidates, and candidate drop-out rates reducing from 20% to 8%.

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