HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) contracted with Concentrix in May 2014 to provide additional support to check for error and fraud in tax credits claims. Neither HMRC nor Concentrix are prepared to take full responsibility for the catastrophic failure of this contract. Both parties have different views as to the causes of the failure and look to blame each other. What is beyond doubt, however, is that between them they provided a totally inadequate service to claimants. Many claimants were confused by the communications they received and were unable to get answers from Concentrix to their letters or calls. Despite claimants facing these problems, during the 2016 renewals process, HMRC chose to suspend 45,000 awards. This caused unnecessary hardship and distress and HMRC later reinstated some 30,000 awards to which people had been entitled. HMRC lacked the commercial capability to design the contract effectively, agreeing to nearly triple the commission paid to Concentrix even though the service was so poor. HMRC now accepts that the payment-by-results mechanism used in this contract was wholly wrong for this type of service. It does not intend to involve the private sector to conduct tax credits error and fraud checks in the future.
4 April 2017