Smarter working in public services: the HMRC experience so far


The report assesses the progress of HMRC in its attempt to adopt Smarter Working principles. Smarter Working is an approach that empowers staff to choose how, when and where to work, and provides appropriate spaces and technology to facilitate this. These principles are being rolled out across Government in efforts to make the Civil Service more efficient and effective.

HMRC has been at the forefront of this reform programme and has become more flexible, productive and collaborative as a result. As the third-largest government department by headcount, HMRC’s adoption of Smarter Working demonstrates the potential for reform within large public-sector organisations.

Smarter Working can empower staff by promoting flexible working, enabling them to choose working patterns that fit their individual work-life balance. HMRC have given 25,000 employees an electronic tablet to help facilitate a more flexible working environment.

The report demonstrates that Smarter Working can have a positive impact on productivity. Flexible working, for example, offers a healthier work-life balance with positive effect on productivity. Through the implementation of new technologies, HMRC also hit its target of 10 million automated transactions ahead of schedule.

New technologies and the utilisation of the estate – essential features of Smarter Working – can also promote collaboration. The report argues that HMRC’s commitment to the hubs programme, which plans to shift operations to 13 regional hubs by 2027, will improve collaboration between teams. In addition, technology such as videoconferencing platforms mean that space and distance are no longer barriers to communicating with colleagues across the country.

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