Danny McCance 13 Nov 2018 05:01pm

Review launched into bullying at HMRC

HMRC has asked former John Lewis Partnership HR director Laura Whyte to chair the independent review into its bullying and harassment complaints procedures

Between 2016 and 2018 the Revenue received 294 complaints of bullying or harassment from staff members.

Despite the number of complaints made during this period, in any one year only 10 or fewer men and 10 or fewer women were investigated, a Guardian investigation into bullying and harassment in various government departments found.

It reported that at least 68 female staff made sexual harassment complaints.

The independent review will look at how people can report such issues, as well as how they are dealt with by HMRC and will report its findings in the New Year.

“We won’t hesitate to make changes should the review recommend they are needed,” a HMRC spokesperson said.

“Large organisations like HMRC with our 67,000 staff will sadly have occasional issues with staff behaviour.”

“All reports of bullying and harassment are investigated,” they added.

The Revenue said that currently the difference between the number of disciplinary procedures and complaints or complainants could be due to an individual bullying more than one person, or a one person making multiple complaints.

However, “depending on the nature of the complaints” or upon the complainant’s wishes, informal investigations – including mediation or intervention by line managers – can be undertaken.

Examples of serious or gross misconduct, it said, are “always subject to disciplinary investigation” and where these are proven to be true then HMRC will take action “including dismissal where appropriate”.

Whyte was unavailable for comment.