HMRC’s Digital Support October 2018 update

Oct 22, 2018

The latest update from HMRC is available.

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

Agent Forum (AF)

As at end of September 2018 the Forum has 938 Agent subscribers, up 134 since the last progress report. And 147 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 60k views (up 5k), 3053 posted messages (up 170) on 604 current topics (Up 43); 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 2 programme of promotion emails is currently running and will continue throughout October. We are inviting Agents who are subscribed to Agent Update. When we reach membership of 1000, we will suspend recruitment and review our delivery capability; we expect to achieve this by end October 2018. This on account of fixed resources set against a substantial increase in traffic volumes and successful issues resolutions. A new initiative launched during August, was the publication of a weekly digest email to all registered Agent forum members. It summarises traffic raised on the forum during the previous 7 days, with dedicated links to specific issues raised. Initial results 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 have a joint F2F meeting scheduled for 3rd December 2018. 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. A bespoke meeting held during July addressed the proposed abolition of Class 2 NI and associated Direct Debit issues. The next F2F meeting in the calendar has been arranged for 3rd December 2018, specifically to address Agent Forum operation issues.   

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.”