Judy Clements OBE, appointed Adjudicator in April 2009 for complaints about HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), The Insolvency Service (The IS) and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), publishes her 2009/10 Annual Report today. This is the seventeenth report since the formation of the office in May 1993
Judy Clements writes “I am very pleased to present my second annual report and the first to encompass my work as Adjudicator.”
The new Adjudicator inherited a significant backlog of work when she started in her role. From the outset she set clear priorities to:
• restore customer service performance to acceptable levels
• review outcomes and learning
• work with the departments to ensure complaints are dealt with efficiently and timeously.
She goes on to say “Since the last report, much has been achieved and significant improvements have been undertaken in my office to drive changes to our working practices and maximise efficiency.”
HMRC complaints continue to form the majority of cases and the report highlights work led by the Adjudicator, alongside HMRC and staff from the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO), to clarify the decision making process for the Extra-Statutory Concession, A19. It also details her work with HMRC Tax Credits Office (TCO) which has led to sustained improvements in the quality of the TCO complaints process.
The sound relationships with the VOA and The IS are highlighted too and these are complemented by discussions with third sector groups (such as Tax Aid, Tax Help for Older People and the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group) to begin to consider specific customer needs.
Notes for editors
1. The Adjudicator’s Office was set up in 1993, to look into complaints about the Inland Revenue (including the Valuation Agency). HM Customs and Excise and the Contributions Agency joined in 1995. April 2001 saw the addition of complaints about the Public Guardianship Office (now the Office of Public Guardian) and from April 2003 the office took on complaints about The Insolvency Service. In April 2005 the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise merged to form HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). From the 1 September 2009 the office ceased to take complaints about the Office of the Public Guardian.
2. Judy Clements OBE replaced Dame Barbara Mills DBE QC as Adjudicator on 20 April 2009. She acts as an impartial referee when people are not satisfied with the way the departments have dealt with their complaint. She looks at complaints about handling issues, such as mistakes, delay, staff attitude, and quality of advice. She does not consider complaints about the law, or where an independent tribunal already exists for settling disagreements. Her recommendations are independent and her services are free to complainants.
3. This report covers the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 and is available free of charge from the Adjudicator’s Office, 8th Floor Euston Tower, 286 Euston Road, London NW1 3US. Telephone 0300 057 1111 or 020 7667 1832. It is also available on www.adjudicatorsoffice.gov.uk
4. Further information about the office (including leaflets on how to complain) can also be obtained from the above address or website.
5. Statistics for the year to 31 March 2010 are below.
Media enquiries to Margaret Allcock, Head of Office, 0300 057 1829 or 020 7667 1829.
To view the table that accompany's this release, please follow the link below;
In 2009/10, the Adjudicator recommended HMRC pay a total of £103,590 compensation to complainants for worry and distress and poor complaint handling. She also asked HMRC to reimburse £193,154 for direct costs. The Adjudicator recommended that HMRC give up tax and interest amounting to £99,223 and that HMRC write off £1,788,698 in overpaid tax credits.
The Adjudicator recommended that the VOA pay £14,864 compensation to complainants, that the Insolvency Service pay £4,122 and OPG pay £24,365.
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept