Select Committee on Treasury Written Evidence

Further supplementary memorandum from HM Revenue and Customs


Whether or not the Department accepts the Ombudsman's 12 recommendations in her report of June 2005 and, where it accepts a particular recommendation, what progress has been made

  The Government's response to the Ombudsman's recommendations was set out in the Paymaster General's letter to her of 29 July. The Department has already acted on a number of those recommendations, including:

    —  improved guidance and training for contact centre staff about interim payments and the availability of help in cases of hardship;

    —  improvements in the tax credits award notice to help understanding of the reasons why overpayments may arise; and

    —  planned improvements in the presentation of information accompanying award notices to draw attention to hardship provisions.

  Other recommendations are under consideration in the review of Code of Practice 26.

Projections of the implications for current levels of staffing in the tax credits area if the Department were to introduce a means of manually suspending the reclamation of an individual customer's overpayment

  The current planning assumption is that implementing an interim process to suspend the recovery of disputed overpayments before the full computerised solution is available could require some 200 full-time equivalents, as an addition to current staff levels. The impact of staffing will of course be subject to the precise nature of the interim procedures, which are still subject to final testing by HMRC. It will also depend on, amongst other things, the number of disputes received by the department.

October 2005

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