How equality conscious is HMRC?
HMRC have been consulting on how they assess and monitor their compliance with the laws on equality and diversity. LITRG recommends that HMRC should do more to monitor their compliance and make it more relevant to customers and front-line staff.
For many years public bodies have been required to carry out impact assessments where any new policy or activity risks not complying with laws on racial, disability or sex equality. These are known as equality impact assessments, or EQIAs. HMRC have recently consulted on their EQIA plans and progress reports.
Whilst HMRC clearly have high aspirations and commitment at the top level of their organisation to delivering an active and living equality policy, this is not always reflected in how they devise or manage initiatives at the front line.
The published documents lack sufficient detail to allow constructive comment. However, it does seem that HMRC have done little follow-up work where they have identified a risk of non-compliance. We believe that in order to assess such risks and prioritise work accordingly, HMRC must learn from completed EQIAs and embed best practice at the front line.
Many of the activities which are covered in these plans and reports relate to internal matters and lack the customer focus. We have therefore recommended that HMRC should write future action plans so that they are comprehensible to the lay reader and encourage relevant external stakeholders to comment more meaningfully.
Contact: Jan Tish (0844 579 6700 Fax 0844 579 6701)