How much does the director of the Tax Credits Policy Team get paid?

The request was successful.

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

In September 2016 the Deputy Director of the Tax Credits Policy Team replied to me about my enquiries into why childless tax credit claimants had to request backdating, whereas those with children did not have to request backdating. That reply stated the following:

'As a result of our further enquiries, we have found that entering a date in question 4.4 of the claim form [TC600 form] does prompt the system to backdate a claim, subject to any further checks HMRC may need to carry out. This was not our initial understanding when we wrote to you 14 August and 16 September. Our letters to you therefore provided INCORRECT advice. Please accept our apologies for this misunderstanding, which is a reflection of the COMPLEXITY of the tax credits system....'

Bearing in mind that tax credit claimants can be fined 'up to £3000 if you give wrong information negligently (if you didn't take enough care)', then why do those who are in charge of tax credit policy behave negligently and with impunity?

With that warning in mind, could HMRC please let me know how much the Director of Tax Credits Policy currently gets paid annually?
Tax payers have a right to know whether they are getting value for money when they fund incompetent/negligent tax credit policy directors.

Successive directors of the Tax Credits Policy Team have not been able to understand tax credit policy for over ten years because they claim it is too complicated for them to comprehend. I am not a very well paid employee of HMRC, and yet I could clearly understand this policy, and in fact almost anyone else would be able to do so, including most small children.It seems only those in charge of tax credits policy at HMRC cannot understand the policies they create and implement. Why is that?

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

foi.team@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Central Team, HM Revenue and Customs

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Dear M Boyce,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 26th
January.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Team

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Thank you for your prompt reply to my FOI request. Unfortunately, however, it does not provide the information I had requested. Could you please provide the requested information.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

foi.team@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Central Team, HM Revenue and Customs

Our ref: FOI2017/00266

Dear M Boyce,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 3rd February which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Department for answer.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Yours sincerely,

So first you send me irrelevant information that was not what I asked for, and then you ignore my repeated request for the information I had asked for.
Please provide this information or I will email you every working day for the next two weeks. If you have still not bothered to reply by then I will then phone or write to the Head of Tax Credit policy to ask them to explain. I have both their phone number and their contact address.

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Working day one post FOI deadline.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Post FOI request day two.
Do you intend to reply to my FOI request? I intend to give you plenty of reminders before I go to the ICO, so you cannot say that you had forgotten. i will be asking them to fine you like you like you like to fine the little people.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Post FOI request working day three.

Will you reply?

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Post FOI request working day four.

No reply.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Post FOI request working day five.

Still no reply.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Working day six.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Working day seven.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

Working day nine.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

OK, your contempt for the law has gone far enough. I will be contacting the Information Commissioner's Office about this matter early next week.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

I have now contacted the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to ask them to investigate the fact that you are continually breaking the law. I have sent them the link to this request. You will be hearing from them shortly.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

Dear M Boyce,

 

Please find attached our response to your internal review request.

 

Many Thanks

 

FOI Team

 

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Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Complaint to ICO about HMRC FOIA

Thank you for your response.
I will now be asking the ICO to investigate your internal review of my FOI request.
Your response is nothing short of disgraceful. It should shame HMRC, but there is clearly little chance of that. HMRC repeatedly breaks the law with regards to the FOIA, and with regards to Tax Credits - and it does so with impunity and without conscience.
Your response is factually inaccurate, it is dismissive, and it is contemptuous of the law and of decent behaviour.
My FOI request was made on 26 January 2017. You responded on 3 February 2017, not, as you state, on 13 February.
I asked for an internal review/ for you to provide the requested information on 3 February 2017. I sent you about 12 follow-up emails asking for an acknowledgement response over a period of several weeks. You failed to respond to any of these.
On 20 March 2017 I contacted the ICO and asked them to investigate.
On 30 June 2017 the ICO informed me that they had written to HMRC and had given them until 14 July 2017 to respond to my request for internal review.
HMRC responded on 12 July 2017. That was more than five months after my request for internal review. That is not big and it is not clever; it is just selfish and irresponsible.
You offered no acknowledgement, apology or explanation for ignoring my request for internal review. You treat the FOIA 2000 with the same contempt that you treat requesters for information. Both are mere inconveniences to you.
I will remind you that the ICO have issued guidance that clearly states that requests for internal review should be responded to within 20 working days. You will know this and therefore you must have chosen to ignore this guidance. More importantly, you chose to completely and indefinitely ignore my FOIA request for internal review. Without prompting from the iCO you just ignore the law and ignore anyone that asks for legitimate and reasonable information that you would much rather not disclose. HMRC are a serial and prolific offender in this regard.
When authorities like HMRC behave in this way it costs the tax payer a lot of money. Every case that is referred to the ICO costs money. This means there is less money to look after the sick and disabled and the needy. Those people that work for HMRC and fail to do what they are generously paid to do should perhaps look to their consciences, because one day it may be them or their relatives that do not receive care from the state because money has been squandered by the likes of HMRC failing to adhere to the letter and spirit of the FOIA 2000. HMRC is government department and it should lead by legal and moral example. Sadly, it is led by the rich, and the poor are misled by it.
I will also remind you of Section 16 of the FOIA. This states that authorities have a duty to provide advice and assistance. That does not mean you have a duty to ignore requests for internal reviews. It does not mean that you have a duty to fail to provide advice and assistance.
The grudging and confused response that was forced from you on 12 July 2017 is as muddled as it is dismissive. You state that my request was refused because the information I requested was reasonably available to me. And then in the same befuddled breath you state that it was explained to me that HMRC does not have a post with the job title of Director of Tax Credits. Perhaps you could remind me when you completed your degree in gibberish? How could information that you claim does not exist be reasonably available to me? You then state that after ‘careful consideration’ that your response was compliant with the FOIA. Heaven help anyone that is on the receiving end of a decision from you that is not ‘carefully considered’.
To reminder you, I asked:
Could HMRC please let me know how much the Director of Tax Credits Policy currently gets paid [annually]?
I have received written correspondence from an HMRC Deputy Director of Tax Credits Policy, Mr James Dunstan, and also from a Head of Tax Credits Policy, Ms Claire Barcham. It is therefore not unreasonable and not illogical to assume that if there is a Deputy Director of Tax Credits then there should be a Director of Tax Credits Policy. If that is not the case, then who was Mr Dunstan deputising for? Is the Head of Tax Credits Policy the same as the Director of Tax Credits Policy? Who knows? Will we ever know? What we do know is that HMRC claims it does not know what is should know, and it claims that everybody else should know what it does not know. Tell me something I didn’t know.
Whatever the person in charge of Tax Credits Policy is called, be that Director, Head, Organ Grinder, They That Have No Name, She That Must Be Obeyed, or any number of other nom de plumes, it does not really matter to the substance of my request. Under Section 16 of the FOIA you have a DUTY to provide advice and assistance; that means you have a duty to provide the information of the person in CHARGE of Tax Credits Policy, whatever the title they may go by, and to stop playing ridiculous and wasteful games with tax payers money.
As for my other rhetorical questions: they were designed to illustrate and contextualise the question above. As such, they implicitly required no answer, and I wasn’t expecting an answer

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

The ICO have now replied to my request for them to investigate. They are now going to do so. They have informed me that there is a large backlog of cases and so it may take months to investigate. This large backlog is because authorities like HMRC are not obeying the law and are not properly responding to FOI requests. By effectively making people go to the iCO HMRC are placing a huge drain on scarce public resources and are literally costing lives as tax payers' money is diverted from services like health and social care to fund the ICO. It is time HMRC started behaving ethically.

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

foi.team@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Central Team, HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

Dear M Boyce,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 26th
January.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Hall

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

I will remind you that under the FOIA 2000 you have a DUTY to be helpful and provide advice. You do NOT have a duty to be obstructive, unhelpful, rude and dismissive. There might not be a 'Director of Tax Credit Policy', but there will be someone in charge of Tax Credits policy/process with a similar and near equivalent title/role. I will be discussing with the ICO where to go next with this request in the coming week.
I will also be making an FOI request to the ICO to ask them to provide an estimate of the average cost of each investigation they undertake into non-compliant authorities like HMRC. Every pound spent by the ICO investigating the grotesque failures of HMRC is literally costing lives - money that could be spent on social care provision/NHS etc.. Anyone who had a conscience might bear that in mind.
Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

I have now spoken to the ICO and will be asking them to investigate your failure to supply the requested information.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

foi.team@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Team, HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

Dear M Boyce,

I am writing with a further update to your request.

Yours sincerely,

HMRC Freedom of Information Team

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Team,

Thank you for this information. It is a shame it took so long for you to provide it and then only because of threats of involvement by the ICO.
So the guy in charge of Tax Credits policy gets paid around £100,000 per year. It is a shame that someone who is paid like a king does not know what he is doing. Year after year after year I have been telling HMRC that their various guidance on backdating Tax Credits is misleading, and year after year after year HMRC has been promising to sort it out. The current TC600 Form is still currently incorrect and misleading, and so will be the revision in April 2018.
This all goes to show how HMRC can waste public money and seriously mislead the public with impunity. Good old HMRC.

Yours sincerely,

M Boyce

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