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Ali M-W
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3558 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2008 :  09:35:58  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Anyone able to tell us here why Tax Credit Office workers have to sign the Official Secrets Act? Does anyone know?

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is…the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
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Alan the Geordie
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3032 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2008 :  12:46:59  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>> Anyone able to tell us here why Tax Credit Office workers have to sign the Official Secrets Act? Does anyone know?>>

It does seem rather pointless doesn't it? Especially when you consider just how freely & easily HMRC - and other Government departments - have given-away our personal details to all & sundry!


Geordie: "Alreet, de ye fancy a Broon?"

English: "Hello, fancy coming for a drink?"
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2008 :  08:11:19  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Perhaps it's just their misdemeanours which are to stay secret, and not our personal information.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is…the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2008 :  12:05:56  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ali M-W

Perhaps it's just their misdemeanours which are to stay secret, and not our personal information.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is…the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.




Aye, that'll be reet!

Geordie: "Alreet, de ye fancy a Broon?"

English: "Hello, fancy coming for a drink?"
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 13/02/2008 :  07:42:34  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
How binding is the Official Secrets Act anyway, in situations where there is whistleblowing to do? In other areas - eg. nursing - the need to protect the patient/public can override duty to the organisation/service (although not easy to do in practice), so does anyone know how it works with HMRC?

All theoretical, I suppose, until the enormous amount of hinting at problems and 'I know someone who -' stuff gives way to real dirt dished by those in the know - with names and facts attached to it.

And it will - just give it time and a big enough miffed public...

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is…the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 13/02/2008 :  13:54:57  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>>so does anyone know how it works with HMRC?>>

The $64,000 question is;"does anyone know how ANYTHING works with HMRC??

Geordie: "Alreet, de ye fancy a Broon?"

English: "Hello, fancy coming for a drink?"
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2008 :  19:02:25  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Just wanted to say a quick thank you to the HMRC insiders who have and are making themselves known in various ways. It's greatly appreciated. It's HMRC as heartless enforcers of unethical practices that we despise, not individual people who are suffering from within, having to work to rules they never made, and in many cases, deplore. Recent surveys suggest HMRC workers have little job satisfaction, unless they grew up enjoying the torture of innocent creatures. Most seem to have the usual empathy for others, and to those who have made contact - thanks! You will know who you are. We will gladly use all the help you can give.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is…the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2008 :  19:54:21  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>>Recent surveys suggest HMRC workers have little job satisfaction, unless they grew up enjoying the torture of innocent creatures.>>

From Ken Frost's excellent site;

In November of 2007 HMRC conducted a staff survey, to find out their views and attitudes towards the organisation that they should be proud to work for.

20062 members of staff (63%) responded, the results make grim reading for the senior management of HMRC and the government; morale is sinking fast. One response particularly stands out, 30% of staff of HMRC did not know that the role of HMRC was to administer the UK's tax and customs system.

What is HMRC for then?

The full results can be accessed here. However, here are a few highlights:

* 33% are not proud to work for HMRC, the figure for June 2007 was 23%


* 41% are not satisfied with their job, in June 2007 it was 37%


* A mere 17% would recommend the HMRC as a good place to work (it was 30% in June)


* 72% think that working for HMRC has got worse, and 53% think it will be even worse in one year's time


* A staggering 70% think that change is not managed well


* 78% think that it is changing for the worse


* Quite alarmingly 30% of staff of HMRC did not know that the role of HMRC was to administer the UK's tax and customs system. What one earth do they think that HMRC is meant to do then?


* 50% think that the integration of HMRC has been a bad thing for their customers (that's HMRC's word to describe taxpayers)


* 55% believe that they are not valued


* 52% do not have confidence in their senior managers

A truly dismal set of findings, one that HMRC and the government should be very ashamed of and worried about.

The question is, are the government and senior management of HMRC able and willing to improve the situation?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is ****e (You must be logged in to see this link.) is brought to you by You must be logged in to see this link. "The Living Brand"

Geordie: "Alreet, de ye fancy a Broon?"

English: "Hello, fancy coming for a drink?"
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 26/03/2008 :  08:58:29  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thanks to the trickle of HMRC employees gradually making themselves known. Whether you work in Policy, Customer Support [sic], Recovery, Helpline or elsewhere - there is much you can help us with!

Don't hold back - the more the merrier!

Morpheus: … as long as there is a single breath in his body he'll never give up… and neither can we.
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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 29/03/2008 :  01:10:13  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
>> Anyone able to tell us here why Tax Credit Office workers have to sign the Official Secrets Act? Does anyone know?>>

The Act applies to

Crown servants, including
government ministers
civil servants, including members of the diplomatic service
members of the armed forces
the police


In order for a crime to be committed, the following conditions must apply:

The disclosure must cause harm to the UK or its interests, or it could reasonably be believed that harm could occur; and the person making the disclosure must know, or should know, that such harm could occur.

It is not a defence under the act that the disclosure is in the national or public interest.
The latest revision is Official Secrets Act 1989 (1989 chapter 6), which removed the public interest defence by repealing section 2 of Official Secrets Act 1911.
Section 8: prosecutions under this act require the permission of the Attorney General.

The 1985 Ponting case was in some ways the landmark Official Secrets case. Clive Ponting, who had worked at the Ministry of Defence, walked free from court after a jury cleared him of breaking the Official Secrets Act.

It was hailed as a victory for the jury system. The judge had indicated that the jury should convict him.

Ponting had been charged with leaking an internal MoD document concerning the General Belgrano, the Argentinian cruiser which British forces sank during the 1982 Falklands War, killing 360 people.

The government line had been that the Belgrano was threatening British lives when it was sunk. But the document leaked by Ponting indicated it was sailing out of the exclusion zone. Its publication was a huge embarrassment for Lady Thatcher's government.


It is also an offence under the Act
for a Crown servant, a government contractor or a notified person to fail to take reasonable care to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of a document or article which is protected by the Act.
for a Crown servant or a notified person to retain such a document or article contrary to official duty
for a government contractor or a member of the public to fail to comply with an official direction for the return or disposal of such a document or article

When is a disclosure damaging?

The Act sets a different test or tests of damage for each of the six categories of information. For an offence to be committed under the Act, the disclosure of information must in general have damaged the national interest in the particular way, or ways, specified in the Act for the category of official information in question. It is ultimately for the jury to decide, when the case comes to trial, whether damage has in fact occurred.




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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 31/03/2008 :  08:29:41  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Damaging the national interest... I bet that is open to some bizarre interpretation by this government. Common-sense would dictate that revealing, for example, bad practice and deciet at HMRC would be 'in the public interest', but if it ruins the chances of HMRC bullying claimants into repaying tax credit overpayments, I could see Nu Labour taking the 'damaging the taxpayers' purse' line...

Not that any decent lawyer would let this go by unchecked, but I am sure you have suggested elsewhere - or someone else has - that the judiciary, press and anyone with any power are all under Nu Labour's thumb anyway...

Would be interesting to see if anyone working at HMRC had the guts to put this to the test. Maybe we will, once more issues come to light.

Morpheus: … as long as there is a single breath in his body he'll never give up… and neither can we.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 31/03/2008 :  08:31:00  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
I don't get the sense that justice is much of a priority for this government. Public obedience is.

Morpheus: … as long as there is a single breath in his body he'll never give up… and neither can we.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 31/03/2008 :  12:13:54  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>> I don't get the sense that justice is much of a priority for this government. Public obedience is.<<

Just like in Uncle Joe Stalin's USSR.


Apathy rules OK - so why do I bother?
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2008 :  07:19:02  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Just in case a certain person (who will know who he is) sees his name appearing in an area of this site he can't get to...

Yes, we were talking about you. And saying that you appear to still be waiting in the wings for the opportunity to come back, perhaps - because we suspect you got a bit of an earbashing from your boss - when you can assume a new identity and feel a bit safer.

Contact FTC if you're warming to our cause and understanding that the propaganda about us all being thieves and deceivers applies rather more to those weilding the power than to the vast majority of us.

FTC will give you all you need to rejoin us incognito, just in case you feel that urge.

Same goes to other HMRC insiders wanting to see a fairer system but quaking in their boots.

Currently, HMRC employees probably have even less power than us; at least we can rant at HMRC without getting the sack.

If you're happy with that, so be it. But I bet you're not...

Morpheus: … as long as there is a single breath in his body he'll never give up… and neither can we.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 19/08/2008 :  07:15:21  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Occasionally I'll receive an email from an HMRC employee who is less than happy at the 'service' their organisation is providing to tax credit claimants, and has perhaps seen a little more clearly than the powers that be can that claimants need a secure income, not to be given tax credits one minte, and a hefty recovery demand the next. I'm bringing this thread back to the fore again, as should they wish to join the various debates and cries for help here, they will presumably be able to do so without incurring the wrath of their managers.

Interestingly, I found this article on Ken Frost's site:

Friday, 15 August 2008
From The Coal Face II

Yesterday's article "From The Coal Face" has brought forth some very direct and unflattering comments from employees of HMRC about the "quality" of management in that fine organ of the state, and staff morale in general.

One rather good suggestion was that Gordon "Smiler" Brown should read this site and the comments made. However, until I actually see a pig flying past my office window, I will assume that is unlikely to occur.

There was one very good suggestion that does, I think, have legs:

"My advice to all HMRC colleagues is to download from Intranet the grievance stencil (opens in Word) complete, sign and fire them into management. Don't pull your punches chaps and chapettes...the more grievances you raise the more the powers-that-be will get the message that things will have to change.

If I were a manager receiving a daily deluge of grievances from my staff it would certainly force my hand."

Use the system to defeat the system!

Plus, anonymously, air your grievances here in order to ensure that HMRC management is publicly humiliated into taking positive action.

Take action!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is ****e (You must be logged in to see this link.), also available via the domain You must be logged in to see this link. is brought to you by You must be logged in to see this link. "The Living Brand"


Just to remind you that here is another place where you can 'air your grievances ...in order to ensure that HMRC management is publicly humiliated into taking positive action.'

We do get visitors from 'high places' from time to time, and fervently hope some of our suggestions here are gradually filtering through...

Of course, members can also speed up the 'filtration process' by either copying contributions here and cutting and pasting them into letters and emails to their MPs and senior government ministers of their choosing, or emailing their 'representatives' in Parliament the thread links.

This is the 'silly season' and MPs will be coming back from their holidays and settling down to comstituency business. You might find yourself with a listening ear.

It really only is going to be 'consumer' action which changes the focus from whether single individuals deserve a write-off or not to the fact that there are massive numbers of ordinary, compliant and above all, innocent claimants who deserve a little better than this current punitive, adversarial and ruthless recovery treatment.

Everyone can help - HMRC workers who abhor the way they are obliged to set about their work, claimants, welfare rights workers, journalists, MPs and Parliamentary Candidates (MPs-in-waiting), and anyone else who visits here and has empathy for our undeserved plight.

Let's make 2008 the year this system changes. Thanks, Ali.


Trinity: The answer is out there… and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 19/08/2008 :  11:54:52  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>>"My advice to all HMRC colleagues is to download from Intranet the grievance stencil (opens in Word) complete, sign and fire them into management. Don't pull your punches chaps and chapettes...the more grievances you raise the more the powers-that-be will get the message that things will have to change.

If I were a manager receiving a daily deluge of grievances from my staff it would certainly force my hand."

Use the system to defeat the system!<<

And this is why I am forever banging-on to our members to WRITE TO YOUR MPs!!

"Dave Anderson (Labour) MP for Blaydon for Prime Minister!!"
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 19/08/2008 :  14:12:56  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
It has to be said that if MPs get full mailbags about tax credits and failing government policies they will have to act. They will start to realise that the electorate won't vote for them unless they show commitment to a safer, fairer system.

Same with HMRC employees. If bosses are hearing day after day that their employees are suffering work-related stress due to having to live with their consciences at the way they are forced to treat honest, law-abiding people, they will eventually realise that they can no longer serve their masters - this ailing government - without strongly feeding back what they hear from their employees.

HMRC workers - are you proud of the repution HMRC now has? Of the data discs lost, and public expense of searching for them in vain? Of the resignation of Paul Gray on a pension pot of over two million pounds of the same taxpayers' money his department has frittered away? Of the way a 'junior employee' was implicated and had to leave, when the instructions apparently came from higher up? Of the up to two million people overpaid tax credits each year? Of having to turn up on claimants' doorsteps demanding money? Of writing Certificates of Debt which seal claimants' fate in court, knowing full well that this isn't used as a 'last resort' as Jane Kennedy claims, but used to shut down disputes? Of talking to crying claimants begging to have their overpayments written off? Doesn't all this play on your mind and give you a troubled night's sleep?

If it does, don't just hunt for another job. Let your employer know. Let Brown know. And if you are brave enough, let us know!

Thanks, Ali.

Trinity: The answer is out there… and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 19/08/2008 :  14:22:02  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Alan's right - we can all write to our MPs. You don't need a way with words or any particular insight into the 'system'. Just tell them what it feels like to be stuck in this mess! Just mention the 'Tax Credit Casualties' and demand that all non-fraudulent overpayments are written off - now! That's all you need to do.

When you write to your MP, they have to investigate and write back. So aim high. Ask them to talk to Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling or Jane Kennedy. Ask them why Jane Kennedy speaks of 'consultations' and Gordon Brown claims to 'listen' and yet neither has gone anywhere near the Tax Credit Casualties. Hammer away at the injustices we face. Why are innocent people taken to court? Why is our data proving our innocence every time we succeed in getting proper access to it? Why are important calls withheld so that court cases can be won by HMRC? Why are they 'economical with the truth'? Why won't HMRC or Brown tell us exactly how much it costs to chase claimants for money back? Tell them you know that they are doing this to punish ans subdue us, not because it makes any moral or economic sense.

At the end of the day, if we help each other to get an Amnesty, we aren't just getting justice for ourselves, but for everyone. Don't you want to be a part of that when this comes off?

Remember, the war on unfair bank charges started with ONE MAN!

Do your part and you can not only help yourself, but help others who may be in an even worse situation than you are. And finally get Brown to acknowledge some of the pain his system has caused us. Isn't it worth it?

Trinity: The answer is out there… and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 19/08/2008 :  14:25:30  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
WE ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO WIN THIS, BUT TO DO SO, WE NEED TO PULL TOGETHER.

Trinity: The answer is out there… and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 21/09/2008 :  12:35:01  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>>Same with HMRC employees. If bosses are hearing day after day that their employees are suffering work-related stress due to having to live with their consciences at the way they are forced to treat honest, law-abiding people, they will eventually realise that they can no longer serve their masters - this ailing government - without strongly feeding back what they hear from their employees.<<

Aye, it's a canny idea Ali, but it isn't going to happen.

The truth is that HMRC are so shyte scared of "The Management" and of losing their jobs that they won't even say BOO to a goose!

They can't even summon the courage to fight for themselves so there's little chance of them doing anything for us.

Balls?? they'd struggle top find a single one among the whole lot of them!! What a bunch of spineless, gutless wonders!!

This fight will be won - if it ever is to be won - by the people for the people .... just as the fight against Maggie's Poll Tax was.

Meanwhile, don't allow yourselves to be railroaded into agreeing to repayment plans when you know that you don't owe anything in the first place, keep Protesting, Complaining, writing to your MPs, Gordon (The Lying Scotsman) Brown, Alastair the Darling, Jane dead Kennedy AND THE MEDIA!!!

"Dave Anderson (Labour) MP for Blaydon for Prime Minister!!"
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