July 2018 Digital Support for Business and Agents update

Sep 03, 2018

The latest on the Agent Forum features in this month’s update.

“Digital Support for Business & Agents – July Update

As at end of July 2018 the Forum has 693 Agent subscribers, up 31 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. It has attracted nearly 48k views (up 4.2k), 2608 (up +203) posted messages on 509 (38+) 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 2 programme of promotion emails is currently in its planning stages, to commence during August 2018. We will invite all agents less those contacted during Phase 1, utilising the Agent Update publication mailing list. In preparation we have additionally revised our ‘confirmation letter advising of AF registration’ to include user guidance.   

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. A bespoke meeting held during July addressed the proposed abolition of Class 2 NI and associated Direct Debit 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.”