Digital Support for Business & Agents – July update

Aug 27, 2018

Last month’s update contains the latest on the Agent forum.

Digital Support for Business & Agents – Agent Forum June Update for VCG

Agent Forum (AF)

As at end of June 2018 the Forum has 661 Agent subscribers, up 111 since the last progress report. And 144 HMRC staff. We continue seeking key stakeholder engagement to both use the Forum and recruit more Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for provision of issue resolution responses. It has attracted nearly 43.8k views (up 6.0k), 2405(up +229) posted messages on 471 (45+) current topics; which are moderated daily with appropriate responses given, as determined by subject matter, related traffic generated and referrals provided by line of business.

Our priority after delivering issue resolutions to agent enquiries continues to be enlisting formal SME engagements and focusing on recruiting more agents to register for and use the forum. Our phase 1 programme of promotion emails which commenced during February 2018 has now ended. We will plan a second phase utilising the Agent Update publication mailing lists, pending some work on forum user guidance to be disseminated to newly registered members.   

We continue to work closely with the Issues Overview Group (IOG), made up of Professional Bodies (PBs), a number of whom also sit on the VCG together with HMRC representatives.  It jointly determines what the ‘widespread’ issues priority classification should be, for earliest resolution. New arrangements for these meetings have been in place, since late 2017 which moved away from a fixed schedule of events throughout the year to bespoke ones. Focus is on subjects of most concern, at which relevant Subject Matter Experts attend to both hear first-hand how Agents are impacted and to offer up or take away issues for resolution. P800 and related MTDfB issues are successfully being addressed. The next such meeting is being discussed and will likely feature the abolition of Class 2 NI and VAT mandation scheduled for April 2019.

The Digital Support for Businesses and Agents (DSBA) Agent Team, staffed by 2.5 FTE Issues Resolution Managers (IRMs), moderate and run the forum. As and when required, we bring in extra cover from our Agent Account Managers (AAMs) team to ensure we maintain response service levels, when going to Lines of Business for issues resolution.”