Broad principles: What do we mean by remedy?
Quite simply, “remedy” means the action we take to put things right when we have made a mistake, for example where we have caused unreasonable delay or handled a complaint badly. Remedy could include any number of things, but invariably involves:
- acknowledging and owning a mistake
- correcting the mistake and telling our customer how and when we have done so
- explaining what went wrong and the steps taken or being taken to prevent a recurrence
- apologising face to face, on the telephone or in writing, or any combination of these.
Do not underestimate the impact of these actions. Done well, they demonstrate that we have taken the complaint seriously, that we are concerned about our failings and the effect they have had on individuals or businesses, and that we want to learn from those failings and strive to do better. Done badly, we risk damaging the reputation of HMRC, alienating those we seek to serve, losing the co-operation of our customers, and increasing significantly our administrative costs. Dealing properly with complaints, therefore, must be a key function of every operational area throughout HMRC.
Remedy, of course, may also include making a payment, and a large part of CRG is devoted to dealing with this situation. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that “remedy” does not simply mean “financial payment”, although a payment may form part of an overall remedy package.