Digital Support for Business and Agents update

Feb 04, 2019

The December 2018 update is set out.

Digital Customer Support Services – Agent Forum (Sept-Oct) Update for VCG

Agent Forum (AF)
As at end of November 2018 the Forum has over 1060 Agent subscribers, up 35 since the last progress report. And 145 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. Other performance metrics include over 75.5k views (up 8.5k), 3492 posted messages (up 227) on 696 current topics (Up 37), all since July 2017; 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 internal HMRC SME engagements and focusing on a proposed upgrade to the existing platform. Funding has been approved for this to be implemented by the end of the current financial year. Currently two platform options are being trialled; one solution from Microsoft and the other KCOM-Telligent. Once evaluation trials are concluded and the successful platform chosen, planning and delivery of associated installation, training and data migration activities will commence. 

The publication of a weekly digest email to all registered Agent forum members continues. It summarises traffic raised on the forum during the previous 7 days, with dedicated links to specific issues raised. System metrics still demonstrate it has significantly increased agent engagement and views.  

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.  We held a joint F2F meeting on 3rd December 2018 at ICAEW, to review how the service has performed in the previous 12 months and to bring the group up to date on our upgrade plans as alluded to above. A key responsibility of the group is to jointly determine what the ‘widespread’ issues priority classification should be, for earliest resolution. By mutual consent, both parties agreed further work was needed to establish how this should be achieved, mindful of HMRC’s steer towards a ‘digital solutions’ approach based primarily on the Agent Forum, as the vehicle for delivering it.   

The Digital Customer Support Services (DCSS) Agent Team is, staffed by 2.5 FTE Issues Resolution Managers (IRMs), who moderate and run the forum.”