HMRC was established by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act (CRCA) 2005, which gives the legal powers and responsibilities of the department to Commissioners appointed by the Crown.
HMRC’s status as a non-ministerial department is intended to ensure that the administration of the tax system is fair and impartial.
Jim Harra is the First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive, responsible for delivering the departmental strategy and for the organisation’s performance.
Angela MacDonald is the Second Permanent Secretary and Deputy Chief Executive, responsible for customer service and compliance and enforcement activity across all taxes.
Together with the Executive Committee they are responsible for running HMRC.
We have a Lead Non-Executive, Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who chairs the HMRC Board.
Together with the board, the Lead Non-Executive provides challenge and advice to the Permanent Secretaries and the Executive Committee on the design of HMRC’s strategy and on its implementation, including reviewing and challenging performance against the department’s business plan.
Our Commissioners are responsible for the collection and management of revenue, the enforcement of prohibitions and restrictions and other functions, such as the payment of tax credits. They exercise these functions in the name of the Crown.
The Commissioners are also entitled to appoint officers of Revenue and Customs who must comply with their directions. The way in which the Commissioners conduct their business is governed by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act. Decisions relating to the resolution of our largest and most sensitive cases are decided by 3 Commissioners, chaired by the Tax Assurance Commissioner.
HMRC has 7 Commissioners:
The role of the HMRC Board is critical to our success as a non-ministerial department. The board consists of the Lead Non-Executive, the non-executive board members, the Permanent Secretaries and the Chief Finance Officer as the standing members, with other executives attending as the agenda on risks and decisions dictate.
The board is chaired by Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, as Lead Non-Executive, and helps to guide the department strategically by drawing upon wide-ranging public and private sector expertise.
The board provides challenge, advice and assurance to the Permanent Secretaries and the executive team on developing and implementing their strategy, business plan and performance against that plan. The board is advisory and does not have a role in operational decision-making, tax policy or individual taxpayer matters.
The board comprises of members of HMRC’s Executive Committee and Non-Executive Directors.
Chair: Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Lead Non-Executive Director
The board is assisted by 2 further non-executives who serve on the its committees:
The Lead Non-Executive leads an annual evaluation of the performance of the board.
The department reports on how the board operates in the Corporate Governance Statement within the annual report and accounts. This includes the attendance record at board meetings.
The board’s role is to help HMRC deliver its agenda and maximise its performance. The board provides challenge and assurance to the Permanent Secretaries and Executive Committee on the design of HMRC’s strategy and on its implementation including reviewing and challenging performance against the department’s business plan. Non-executive board members provide an external perspective and use their skills and experience to advise the department.
The board does not have a role in day-to-day operational decision-making, nor in tax policy or individual taxpayer matters.
The board provides:
- challenge: reviewing and challenging the department’s business plan and performance against that plan, with particular reference to agreed strategic priorities
- expertise: providing wider public and private sector expertise to inform the delivery of strategy and to improve HMRC’s performance; It also advises the Chief Executive on senior appointments
- strategy: assuring that HMRC’s strategic direction is clear and deliverable, taking into account risk and focusing on the long-term success of the Department and value for the taxpayer
- assurance: providing the Chief Executive, as Principal Accounting Officer, with assurance that the financial statements are factually accurate, that risk management processes are robust, and that control processes across HMRC are strong and appropriate
- stakeholder views: reflecting the views of HMRC’s external stakeholders; supporting HMRC to develop stakeholder communications plans; and using the cross-government network of Non-Executive Directors to bring insight and intelligence to support the Executive Committee in identifying challenges and opportunities
The board meets monthly.
Non-executive board members
The non-executives on the board bring with them a wealth of experience from a range of backgrounds, including data analytics, Human Resources, IT, accountancy and the tax profession. Their skills and professional background brings an external perspective to the advice the board gives to help shape strategy and challenge performance.
The non-executive board members were appointed following recruitment exercises held in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance.
The board’s committee structure consists of the board and 6 supporting committees:
- Audit and Risk Committee
- Nominations Committee
- People Committee
- Customer Experience Committee
- Transformation Committee
- Performance Committee
Work is delegated to board committees, where smaller groups of non-executives and Executive Committee members can examine issues in more detail and present their findings to the board for discussion and conclusion.
Audit and Risk Committee
The Audit and Risk Committee provides assurance to the board and the Principal Accounting Officer on the accuracy and precision of financial statements and the strength of risk management and control processes across HMRC.
Its scope covers all aspects of HMRC business and aspects relating to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), as escalated. The chair of the Audit and Risk Committee will attend at least one meeting annually of the VOA Audit and Risk Committee.
The committee advises the board and the Principal Accounting Officer on:
- assurance processes and actions in relation to management of risks in an HMRC context
- strategic processes for risk, control and governance of the accounting policies, the accounts, the Tax Assurance Commissioner’s annual report and the annual report of the organisation, including the Resource Accounts, Trust Statement and the National Insurance Fund Accounts
- recommending follow-up action in response to reviews of processes in settled tax cases.
- the planned activity and results of both internal and external audit
- the adequacy of management response to issues identified by audit activity
- when necessary, proposals for tendering audit services from contractors who provide audit services to the department
- anti-fraud policies, whistleblowing
- processes and arrangements for special investigations
Chair: Michael Hearty, Non-Executive Director
The First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive will be invited to each meeting and should attend periodically. The Chief Finance Officer will be expected to attend every full meeting, as will the Head of Internal Audit, the Head of Risk, and a representative from the National Audit Office. Other executives attend as the agenda dictates.
The Nominations Committee scrutinises and advises on:
- succession planning for ExCom, the board and senior management and senior-level talent, performance and reward
- systems for identifying and developing leadership, talent and high potential
- incentives and rewards for senior officials and advising on the extent to which these arrangements are effective at improving performance
Chair: Jayne Anne Gadhia, Lead Non-Executive Director
The People Committee provides support to the board and executive management on people related issues, including delivery of the ‘Great Place to Work’ strategic objective, the effectiveness of our overarching employment framework and associated workforce metrics and risk.
The committee provides quality support and robust challenges by:
- holding the department to account for the delivery of being a ‘Great Place to Work’
- helping to identify priority areas in employee experience
- examining workforce related performance issues
- bringing best practice from forward-thinking organisations into discussions
- using skills and experience to examine effectiveness of departmental employee listening strategy
Chair: Patricia Gallan QPM, Non-Executive Director
Customer Experience Committee
The Customer Experience Committee assists the Commissioners of HMRC in their statutory obligation to report annually on the extent to which HMRC has demonstrated the standards of behaviour and values included in the HMRC Charter and complies with the legal obligation to periodically review the content.
The purpose of the committee is to support and challenge ExCom on customer experience-related issues and to help the department deliver on its strategic objectives.
The committee does this by:
- challenging and supporting HMRC to tackle high level risks to the department
- examining planned changes to ensure that the impact on customers has been sufficiently considered
- providing advice on how relevant policies, strategies and practices can be improved.
- identifying priority areas in the end-to-end customer experience where improvements are necessary
The committee publishes a report each year that sets out HMRC’s performance against the HMRC Charter, and includes progress and priorities for further improvement.
Representatives from HMRC’s executive on the committee are the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Second Permanent Secretary, Angela MacDonald, the Director General of Transformation, Joanna Rowland and the Director General of Customer Strategy and Tax Design, Jonathan Athow. HMRC’s Independent Adjudicator is also member.
The committee also includes Non-Executive Directors (including the Chair) and Independent Advisers who have relevant expertise that contributes to its work.
The Transformation Committee is operating in conjunction with other Board sub-committees to:
- test, advise and challenge progress towards HMRC’s strategic ambitions
- provide oversight and assurance of high-risk change programmes to enable non-executives to provide independent opinions on progress to ministers
It is responsible for providing support and assurance to the board and the executive team by scrutinising departmental change delivery against key transformation delivery priorities and HMRC strategy. In addition, it supports Senior Responsible Owners of major programmes and projects within the committee’s remit to address risk and implementation issues.
The Transformation Committee is chaired by Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia the Lead Non-Executive, and includes non-executive board members, and the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Director Generals Transformation as standing members. In addition, all members of ExCom and the Chief Portfolio Officer have a standing invitation.
The Performance Committee supports the board by scrutinising HMRC’s performance and delivery, both against its business plan and wider strategy and in the context of specific projects and issues. It provides independent assurance of the department’s performance, and its capacity and capability to deliver. It supports and challenges Senior Responsible Owners of major projects to address implementation issues so that these priorities are realised.
Performance Committee is chaired by Dame Jayne Anne Gadhia. All non-executive and executive board members are members of the committee.
The Executive Committee is the department’s main executive forum and the primary place in which Commissioners make their decisions. Individual committee members have portfolios of responsibility that span each line of HMRC business and corporate service function.
The Executive Committee oversees and assures all of HMRC’s work and is responsible for setting and delivering strategy. It also oversees the department’s performance, both in terms of immediate and future objectives.
Within a dedicated performance hub, displaying performance indicators agreed by the committee, it analyses HMRC performance against targets and considers ways to improve performance in all areas, including both customer service and value for money.
The Executive Committee is additionally supported by 4 sub-committees:
- Strategy Committee
- Change, Investment and Design Committee
- Making Tax Digital Executive Oversight Committee
- Professional Standards Committee
The Strategy Committee provides high-level oversight of HMRC’s strategy and how it is implemented across the department.
Change, Investment and Design Committee
The Change, Investment and Design Committee ensures that all change takes HMRC towards achieving our strategic objectives and approving the key design, investment and delivery points in a programme’s lifecycle.
Making Tax Digital Executive Oversight Committee
The Making Tax Digital Executive Oversight Committee provides collective oversight of Making Tax Digital’s progress against agreed individual and collective ExCom accountabilities. It provides an escalation route beyond the Programme Board where appropriate.
Professional Standards Committee
The Professional Standards Committee oversees how HMRC administers the tax system and applies policies in accordance with its values. The committee considers how HMRC’s actions could affect trust in the tax system and public perception of fairness. It offers critical challenge to how HMRC exercises its powers, supporting good practice in the use of its powers and safeguards.
Further details can be found in the full terms of reference for the committee:
You can read summaries of the most recent committee meetings:
Meeting summaries from previous years are available from The National Archives here:
You can read a summary of the committee’s year:
The Professional Standards Committee is comprised of the Executive Committee and 2 Non-Executive Directors and is supported by 4 independent advisers.