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To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to HMRC monthly performance update: January 2018, published on 1 March 2018, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for (a) the reduction in post turnaround speed between 2013-14 and 2015-16, and (b) the improvement in post turnaround speed 2016-17.
In 2014-15 HMRC introduced a number of longer-term changes to improve customer service, such as a new telephony system and digital mail system, which unfortunately led to longer call handling times. To limit these impacts HMRC prioritised phone service over post, which led to a reduction in post performance. During the early part of 2015-16 due to the prioritisation of phones over post HMRC had a large amount of post on hand which led to significant underperformance. HMRC took action during the year to address the poor performance by recruiting additional staff and moving staff from other areas of HMRC to work on post.
Efforts to reduce the levels of post on hand resulted in improved service levels – during the last four months of 2015-16 HMRC turned around more than 95% of post within 40 days and more than 70% within 15 days. The improvement continued into 2016-17 where HMRC exceeded their targets for turning round customer post.