HMRC’s regional centre locations based on employees’ postcodes

HMRC’s 13 regional centre locations were chosen using employees’ residential postcodes rather than on the basis of where they worked, the tax authority’s chief executive told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), with redundancies already exceeding the 10% previously estimated

Jon Thompson, chief executive and permanent secretary at HMRC, told PAC at hearing on HMRC’s performance that modelling of the HMRC office restructure project was based on the regional postcode of the individuals working for the tax authority rather than the area where they were currently based for work. This choice was made on the basis that lots of employees were already having to travel to work.

Thompson gave the example that Sheffield office workers’ nearest regional centre would be Manchester, Leeds or Nottingham.

HMRC employees have been offered the opportunity to relocate to one of the 13 regional hubs, with HMRC underwriting their travel costs for three to five years, but those who are unable to move will have to leave the tax authority.

In HMRC’s original business plan, it was estimated that there would be 10% of redundancies due to individuals being unable to relocate however it is now estimated that this number has grown with Thompson promising to provide the exact number of redundancies to PAC at a later date.

In the short term, PAC revealed that it will cost HMRC more to relocate staff due to increased travel costs. Moving to regional centres will save more than £300m up to 2025, with annual cost savings of around £90m from 2026, while improving customer service and modernising how HMRC work.

As part of HMRC’s office restructure project, thousands of HMRC staff will relocate to a small number of locations from the current 137 local offices and centres across the country. Up to 6,000 redundancies are expected due to the geographic relocations.

Currently, 12 out of the 13 office locations have been announced and the leases for building space have been signed with HMRC opening the doors to its first regional centre in Croydon, which 2,600 employees will occupy by 2021, in September 2017.

The following site locations are already confirmed:

  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Croydon
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Stratford

The Nottingham regional centre site has yet to be announced.

Report by Amy Austin

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