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Revenue and Customs

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures are in place to communicate agreed redundancy and relocation arrangements to staff at HM Revenue and Customs offices which are scheduled to close. (317701)

On 13 January 2010 HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) confirmed that 130 of its offices, previously announced for closure during the Department's Workforce Change Regional Review Programme, would close during 2010-11.

The Department has put in place a range of measures to communicate with and provide support to staff who are affected by the announcement. HMRC has, and will continue to consult with trade unions on communication issues.

Staff who are unable to relocate have been declared surplus and are entitled to volunteer for compulsory early severance or compulsory early retirement, to leave HMRC by 31 March 2010.

Meetings were held in each office affected on 13 January to explain the consequences of the announcement. These meetings were supported by information, including questions and answers, published on HMRC's intranet. A staff dial-in with senior managers was also held on 13 January, and a managers' help line and staff mail-box set up to ensure staff received the information they need about relocation and redundancy arrangements.

Letters were issued to all affected staff on 15 January confirming their surplus status and providing individuals with an estimated severance quotation. Staff seminars have been held to give people a better understanding of their situation, the options open to them and to provide a further opportunity to ask questions before they make a decision by 26 January.

Managers will hold individual discussions with all staff who choose not to accept the offer to leave to help them find redeployment opportunities within HMRC or the wider civil service.

HMRC will continue to provide regular updates for staff on its intranet site and through five regional support teams, with representatives from business units across HMRC, which have been set up both to help people make choices and facilitate closure of the offices.