Lin Homer joined HMRC in January 2012 and led the organisation through a period of recovery and significant performance improvements, including:
- successive, record-breaking increases in total revenues and compliance revenues
- the reduction of the tax gap and tax credits error and fraud, both to record lows
- a recovery in customer service from a low-point of 48% calls answered in 2011, to almost 90% calls answered in December 2015, with a queuing time of six minutes
- a new governance structure for assuring tax settlements
- an ambitious transformation programme to digitise services for customers and make HMRC a smaller, more flexible and highly-skilled organisation based in 13 large Regional Centres
- two successful Spending Reviews in which HMRC received around £2.3 billion in reinvestment for that transformation.
Lin Homer, Chief Executive, HMRC said:
After ten years as a Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary in the Civil Service, the start of the next Spending Review period seemed to be a sensible time to move on. HMRC has secured Ministerial support and funding for our ambitious transformation programme and it has the leadership team in place to deliver it. My successor will be able to put their full weight behind seeing the transformation through to 2020.
It has been a privilege to have been with HMRC during a period when the improved performance of the Department has been increasingly recognised and we have the full backing of Ministers for our future plans.
HMRC is a critical organisation which does vital things – to collect the revenues to pay for public services, support families with targeted financial support and facilitate trade for UK businesses. I have found commitment to public service and dedication to customers among our people wherever I have been, coupled with a deep level of specialist expertise and operational excellence.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:
Lin Homer has made a real contribution to public service modernisation and transformation. She has put the foundations in place that will see HMRC become one of the most digitally-advanced tax authorities in the world. It is to Lin’s great credit that the National Audit Office last year judged HMRC to be one of the strongest Departments in Government – a legacy of which she can be rightly proud.
Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, said:
Following a succession of challenging and important roles in a long and varied public sector career, Lin has led HM Revenue and Customs for the last four years with great distinction. She not only leaves behind a significantly more effective and efficient organisation, delivering more for less; she has also helped to transform HMRC into one of the most open, digitally-advanced revenue services in the world.
In addition, Lin has made a valuable contribution to the wider leadership of the Civil Service, including by chairing the Civil Service People Board and acting as Civil Service disability champion for a number of years. She has been a dedicated, professional and courageous colleague and a pleasure to work with. We all wish her the very best with whatever she decides to do next.
A process is now underway to select a new Chief Executive for HMRC. More details will be provided in due course.
Lin Homer has confirmed that she is not currently actively seeking her next role and intends to take a break over the summer. She has also told staff that:
I will be fully sensitive to the responsibility and care that senior HMRC officials should take when considering the appropriateness of potential roles and organisations.
Notes to editors:
Lin Homer’s 36-year career includes ten years in the Civil Service and 26 years in local government. She joined HMRC in January 2012 from the Department for Transport, where she was Permanent Secretary (2011-12), following roles as Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency (2008-11) and the Border and Immigration Agency (2005-08). In local government, she served as Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council (2002-05) and Suffolk County Council (1998-2002). She also held roles in Hertfordshire County Council from 1982 to 1998, rising to Director of Corporate Services, and began her career as a lawyer at Reading Borough Council.
HMRC performance under Lin Homer
Since she joined in January 2012, Lin Homer has led HMRC through its most successful and sustained performance in its ten-year history (see below for sources):
• Overall revenues raised by HMRC increased by 9% – from £474.2 billion in 2011-12 to a record £517.7 billion in 2014-15.
• Compliance revenues – the yield we collect and protect that people try not to pay –increased by 43% from £18.6 billion in 2011-12 to £26.6 billion in 2014-15.
• The tax gap – the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory be collected by HMRC, against what is actually collected – fell from 6.6% of tax due in 2011-12 to its lowest-ever level of 6.4% in 2013-14, which is one of the lowest in the developed world.
• Tax credit fraud and error dropped from 7.3% in 2011-12 to an all-time low of 4.4% in 2014-15.
• Prosecutions (predominantly for tax-related crimes) increased from 545 cases in 2011-12 to 1,288 in 2014-15 – securing a collective total of 407 years in prison sentences.
Using intelligence, sophisticated risking systems and smart data, we have successfully prosecuted a broad range of professionals and organised criminals including barristers, accountants, lawyers, investment bankers, medical consultants, people hiding evaded monies offshore, money launderers, tobacco smugglers, large-scale VAT fraudsters, company directors and organised criminals.
• Customer service has stabilised and has averaged 75% calls handled in the past four years, against 48% in 2010-11. While there were customer service issues in the first quarter of 2015-16, call handling rates in December 2015 were almost 90%, with an average wait time of six minutes.
• Sustainable cost savings worth around £900 million will have been achieved between 2012-13 and 2015-16 – an average of £225 million a year.
• All this was achieved while reducing the size of HMRC’s workforce from 67,000 FTE in 2011-12 to 58,000 FTE in December 2015.
In addition, under Lin Homer as Chief Executive:
• HMRC appointed a Tax Assurance Commissioner and reformed the governance of tax settlements, delivering much greater transparency and addressing public concerns about large business and tax
• HMRC is winning 80% of all tax avoidance cases that taxpayers take to court, with many more settling with us before they reach litigation.
• HMRC has got tougher on tax avoidance schemes and continues to see a steady decline in their number. We have secured tough new enforcement powers, closed loopholes and brought in more than £1 billion from accelerated payments in its first year.
• HMRC has launched Real Time Information, Employment Allowance, Marriage Allowance, online tax credit renewals, web chat, business digital tax accounts and the personal digital tax account
• HMRC has set out a long-term vision for transformation, which will see it become a more modern, professional, highly-skilled, smaller and more flexible organisation, mainly based in 13 large regional centres, offering digital services to customers and using data and analytics in ensuring that people pay the tax due.
• The National Audit Office reported (6.2.15): “HMRC is among the strongest government departments in terms of managerial competence and its robustness in managing the risks to its essential function of tax collection.”
• HMRC secured £2.1 billion for reinvestment in transformation and compliance in the 2015 Spending Review settlement – more than the £1.9 billion of efficiencies it is required to make to its core budget. It also received £200 million in the 2013 Spending Review for digital transformation.
Sources: HMRC annual report and accounts 2014-2015, HMRC publication of the tax gap and Tax Credits error and fraud statistics.