Building operational efficiency in HMRC Corporate Shared Services

The challenge

The Corporate Shared Services (CSS) department serving Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) needed help to improve the quality, cost and efficiency of services provided to its customers from its offices across the UK.

In so doing, the department hoped to achieve its goals of liberating capacity to deliver additional services – allowing it to capitalise on the opportunity to provide shared services across Whitehall – and supporting its customers’ own step changes in performance as part of HMRC’s Lean programme, PaceSetter.

How we helped

Our experience in our own company has shown that a high level of employee engagement is central to ensuring that any new way of working is sustained.

Engaging with everyone

We began by working with executives, managers and front-line employees throughout CSS. Staff in HR, invoicing, payroll, customer service, recruitment and travel & relocation functions were introduced to a range of Lean tools and techniques to analyse and redesign the ways they worked.

By directly involving CSS’ people in this way, we were able to motivate and empower them to address the issues, and capitalise on the opportunities, that they identified. The participation of employees from all CSS locations ensured that processes were looked at in their entirety, rather than silos, addressing such issues as duplication of work, poor work-flow and over-transportation of work between sites.

Putting the customer at the centre

By refocusing all efforts on customer requirements, it was possible to standardise work practices and structure each unit’s work-flow to allow accurate forecasting of demand and required resource, leading to a consistent and improved customer experience.

The introduction of visual management provided all employees with a clear view of each function’s performance against target, allowing issues to be identified and dealt with in real-time before they could impact the customer.

The results

By the end of the programme, major improvements had been realised, producing a six fold return on investment:

  • Productivity improved dramatically and in some areas by over 100%, this resulted in a 75% reduction in work in progress and a significant turnaround in the lead time needed to serve customers
  • This also allowed a 20% increase in customer demand to be managed with no staff increases
  • It enabled a 28% release of resource to undertake other duties
  • Excellent staff engagement and transfer of skills to management and front-line staff creating internal capability to sustain and continuously improve

As a result of its activity at NICO, we have undertaken similar implementations in other parts of HMRC as well as creating programmes to mentor HMRC Directors and to equip top HMRC executives to lead their organisation.