Digital Support for Business & Agents – June update

Jul 23, 2018

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

“Digital Support for Business & Agents – June update

Agent Forum (AF) 

As at end of May 2018 the Forum has 550 Agent subscribers, up 94 since the last progress report. And 143 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 37.8k views (up 3.3k), 2176 (up +172) posted messages on 426 (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 continues to be enlisting formal SME engagements and focusing on recruiting more agents to register for and use the forum. A programme of promotion emails which commenced during February 2018 is ongoing at a rate of 1k p/w and expected to run to mid-June 2018.  An analysis exercise will be undertaken to evaluate its effectiveness, when available agent email addresses are exhausted. During May, the Agent Forum operations team attended the ACCOUNTEX 2018 exhibition to demonstrate the service and encourage agent sign up. This proved an effective recruiting event, with 50 delegates expressing interest in joining over the two days. 

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.

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.”