Member of Parliament for Hackney South and Shoreditch. Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.
Next advice surgery:
Monday 24 April 10am to 12 noon at Hackney Town Hall
See all surgeries
Published on: 6 April 2017
The dreadful human consequences of this contract are well-documented but the story does not end with its termination.
Having taken the work contracted to Concentrix in-house, it is critical that HMRC now delivers for tax credit claimants.
HMRC is undergoing significant change and, as our Committee has previously documented, in recent years experienced a disastrous decline in its own customer service.
This must not be repeated as HMRC faces the challenge of providing an improved and consistent service for people claiming tax credits.
It must also put right the damage done. That means fully reinstating the awards of all claimants who wrongly lost their tax credits and ensuring they are properly compensated for any impact on their entitlement to other benefits.
But there are broader lessons too. HMRC was woefully ill-equipped to design this contract.
Clearly it placed too little importance on customer service. But it was also driven by an inappropriate payment-by-results model, was renegotiated on terms less favourable to the taxpayer, and ultimately achieved less than a fifth of the savings expected.
This lack of commercial expertise in a critical decision-making function of Government is sadly familiar to our Committee.
HMRC does not plan to involve the private sector in this area of work again but it must demonstrate it has the capability to prevent a similarly dismal performance in any future contracts.
You can read the Public Accounts Committee report in full here.