HMRC’s Digital Support for Business and Agents update

Feb 18, 2019

The January 2019 update is set out.

Agent Forum (AF)

As at end of December 2018 the Forum has over 1070 Agent subscribers, up 10 since the last progress report. And 150 HMRC staff. We continue seeking to recruit more Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from across HMRC for provision of issue resolution responses. Other performance metrics include over 77.4k views (up 1.9k), 3613 posted messages (up 121) on 724 current topics (Up 28), 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. No status change from the last AF VCG update of the two platform options 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.

We are still publishing our weekly digest email to all registered Agent forum members. It summarises traffic posted on the forum during the previous 7 days, with dedicated links to specific issues raised. System metrics show it continues to significantly increased agent engagement and forum views.  

We continue to work closely with the Issues Overview Group (IOG) and increasingly the VCG, who’s membership include Professional Bodies (PBs) representatives, a number of whom also sit on both groups together with HMRC stakeholders. A key responsibility of the IOG group is to jointly determine what the ‘widespread’ issues priority classification should be, for earliest resolution. In the run up to EoY SA filing (for 2017/18 returns), two issues in particular 1) In Year Adjustments and 2) POA Missing from SA Statements have had resolutions progressed via the Agent Forum.

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