Our governance

The main decision-making, executive and managerial bodies at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

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 Queen.

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.

More information on how we are structured can be found in our organisation chart, and in the Governance Statement of our Annual Report and Accounts (see pages 102 to 112).

HMRC Commissioners

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 three Commissioners, chaired by the Tax Assurance Commissioner.

HMRC currently has 8 Commissioners:

HMRC Board

The role of HMRC’s 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.

Board membership

The Board is chaired by HMRC’s Lead Non-Executive. It is comprised of some of the members of the Executive Committee and Non-Executives:

Members of the HMRC’s Executive Committee Non-executive members
Jim Harra - First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia (Lead Non-Executive)
Angela MacDonald - Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary Michael Hearty
Jonathan Athow - Director General Customer Strategy and Tax Design David Cooper
Penny Ciniewicz - Director General Customer Compliance Alice Maynard
Esther Wallington - Chief People Officer Juliette Scott
Justin Holliday - Chief Finance Officer and Tax Assurance Commissioner Paul Morton
Alan Evans - General Counsel and Solicitor Patricia Gallan

The board is assisted by 2 further non-executives who serve on the Board’s 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.

Board responsibilities

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.

Board sub-committees

The board’s committee structure consists of the board and 3 supporting committees:

  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • People and Nominations Committee
  • Customer Experience 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

Audit and Risk Committee membership

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.

People and Nominations Committee

The People and Nominations Committee provides advice and scrutiny for the HMRC board on the development and implementation of the department’s people strategy, the effectiveness of nominations arrangements within HMRC, and HMRC’s ability to meet its legislative responsibilities in relation to its people.

These legislative responsibilities include health and safety, the Equality Act and equal pay opportunities. This committee was renamed from the People, Nominations and Governance Committee in September 2017, after the board moved oversight of departmental governance issues to the Audit and Risk Committee. The committee is chaired by Alice Maynard.

The committee provides advice and scrutiny for the board and Chief Executive on:

  • nominations arrangements within HMRC
  • succession planning for appointments to the Executive Committee and the board, so it can maintain an appropriate balance of skills and experience
  • the identification and development of leadership capability and high potential across the department
  • the incentive and reward strategy for the department
  • HR support for the department’s strategic direction and key HR performance indicators
  • HMRC’s ability to meet its legislative responsibilities in relation to its people, including health and safety, the Equality Act and equal opportunities

People and Nominations Committee membership

Chair: Alice Maynard, Non-Executive Director


In addition, committee meetings are normally attended by the Director General for Customer Services Group, Director General for Customer Compliance Group, and Director General for the Solicitor’s Office and Legal Services.

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.

Customer Experience Committee membership

Below is a list of the Non-Executive Directors of HMRC and independent advisers making up the Customer Experience Committee, along with positions they hold and their experience.

Name Current positions and experience
Juliette Scott (Current Chair) Juliette is a non-executive director for HMRC. She is also a non-executive board member at Versus Arthritis (formerly known as Arthritis Research UK) and provides advisory services through her consultancy business. Juliette was previously at eBay – firstly on the board of eBay UK as the Director of Customer Insight, and in her last role she was responsible for customer insight and analytics across Europe. Juliette was introduced into the world of data insight through her time at customer data science company dunnhumby, where she worked in senior roles across many areas at Tesco.
Michael Hearty Michael is a highly experienced, professionally qualified accountant, with extensive strategic and operational leadership experience up to the level of Director General in a range of large and complex UK government departments and agencies. Michael was also a Director General on the Board of the Welsh Government, the executive arm of devolved government in Wales until 2015, where he provided strategic advice and challenge to both the First Minister and the Finance Minister for Wales on a range of strategic planning, finance, corporate governance and performance matters. Currently, Michael holds a range of Non-Executive and independent advisor roles with a number of organisations including HMRC, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) in Wales.
Patricia Gallan QPM Patricia is a non-executive director at HMRC. She is a former British police officer who was Assistant Commissioner Specialist Crime and Operations of the Metropolitan Police in London until 2018. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Specialist Operations – Security and Protection) and also Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Professionalism) from 2012 to 2015, Assistant Chief Constable (Operations Support) of Merseyside Police from February 2006 to 2012, and also served as temporary Deputy Chief Constable of the force from October 2009 to February 2010. She was Assistant Chief Constable at the National Crime Squad from January 2005 to February 2006.
Jean-François Bessiron Jean-François is an independent adviser on the Customer Experience Committee. He is a global leader with more than 20 years’ experience in supply chain/commercial operations and digital marketing and technology. He has held senior leadership positions with FTSE100 and NASDAQ quoted companies at Kingfisher, TechData, Amazon and most recently at Groupon, where he is International Vice President.
Leonie Foster Leonie is an independent adviser on the Customer Experience Committee. She was on the operating board of Dunelm, the UK homewares retailer until March 2020, where she held accountability for the end-to-end customer experience across digital, store format and marketing, for online sales and for leading the multi-channel transformation. Before joining Dunelm, Leonie spent 5 years at Tesco where she led the insight, customer strategy, advertising and Clubcard teams and 5 years at OC&C strategy consultants.
Steven Martin Steven is an independent adviser on the Customer Experience Committee. He is currently Vice President of Data Partnerships Europe & APAC at The Trade Desk following his recent move from LiveRamp, where he was Managing Director of International Data. His role focuses on helping clients to make the most of both their own customer data and other data they can access about their customers from partners and suppliers.

Executive 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
  • Resources and Performance Committee
  • Professional Standards Committee

Strategy 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.

Resources and Performance Committee

The Resources and Performance Committee provides strategic oversight of the resources available to HMRC and its strategic performance, against the HMRC business plan. It also provides oversight of key corporate performance, efficiency, productivity and highlights opportunities, strategic gaps and issues.

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: Professional Standards Committee: terms of reference (accessible open document format) (ODT, 10.5 KB)

You can read summaries of the most recent committee meetings:

Membership of the Professional Standards Committee

The Professional Standards Committee is comprised of the Executive Committee and three Non-Executive Directors. In addition, four independent advisers support the Committee.

Non-Executive Directors Independent advisers
Alice Maynard Katerina Hadjimatheou
Patricia Gallan Emma Borg
Paul Morton Kirsty Britz
  Glyn Fullelove