Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Sign in to follow this  
xux42

Tax Credit Incompetence

Recommended Posts

OK so our income that counts for Tax Credit purposes diminished a lot last year and rather than the £500 min. our final assessment for 09/10 is £1k.

All good and correct.

The provisional assessment for 10/11 is way over the top because 1 of our salaries has been recorded as £0.

This is despite an obviously intelligent and competent girl going through the figures with me on the phone and relaying everything back to me to double check.

Being an IT bod I had a ponder about this and the likely scenarios are:

1. Failure at a system interface - a bug resulted in one of the salaries being set to 0.

2. Manual rekeying, the carefully harvested figures were printed off and passed to some uninterested monkey who didn't know or didn't care that entering £0 was unlikely and that they should double check.

If its 1. well that's poor given the money poured into govt. systems for years but these thing do happen.

If its 2 then WTF is going on? How can billions & billions be poured into these systems and procedures only to be left with sloppy rekeying. Its the kind of rubbish most large private enterprises eradicated years ago.

Is something darker happening? Do public sector bosses / IT people think its actually a smart move to slow down systems/process improvements in order to keep themselves in long term employment?

If so we should be looking for independent investigation/regulation, sackings and clawbacks from the pensions of anyone found guilty of such abuse of public money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dunno. Complexity is the friend of corruption (hence why we are where we are), and you might be no more than a side-effect of someone's plan to give big backhanders to friends. I'd guess you're also in the position of not having a leg to stand on if you take it and they claw it back!

Anyway, a letter to the press might go further than a post on HPC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the failure in these systems wftc housing benefit ect ect are because the people employed to do these jobs are 9 to 5 workers.

They don't understand self employment or much else, they have never been self employed or owned their own company, hence they just don't understand how things work. thus making a mess of peoples assesments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bet would be an interface failure. Government systems are often not fully joined up, lots of data spread everywhere and a tangled mess of interfaces/batch jobs/manual intervention doing the job of sticking plasters to make the whole thing look like it works. That sleepy worker on an ICT visa getting paid peanuts might forget to run a job one night and hey presto!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bet would be an interface failure. Government systems are often not fully joined up, lots of data spread everywhere and a tangled mess of interfaces/batch jobs/manual intervention doing the job of sticking plasters to make the whole thing look like it works. That sleepy worker on an ICT visa getting paid peanuts might forget to run a job one night and hey presto!

So how many billions does it take to get right?

Clever, well paid people can & do manage huge volumes & complexities with low error levels in the private sector.

Maybe the problem is that too much cash is being syphoned off by agencies, consultancies and senior civil servants?

Get serious cash to the processing staff and hands on IT workers and they will do the job well.

Would be very interesting to see an open & complete govt. cash flow analysis without any massaging by VIs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite possibly both.

There is a known bug in the code that randomly takes children off the system. I know about this because it happened to us, and was told this by the customer service people. It has taken us 4 years and letters from our mp and ombudsnan to get our ctc back to normality. The helpline staff were rude and incompetant accusing me of lying about my daughters age. I found the customer service staff much friendlier and more competent. But every time I was given a case worker, i'd call up to speak to them a few months later and they'd moved on, the case had to be opened twice!

This bug also prevented them from putting the children back on!

Other errors were being told we were both disabled and working on the first form, then that being corrected to one of us not being disabled but not working before finally getting it right, both not disabled and both working! Also they wanted to see proof of a child we didn't have that they tried to add to the system!

Good luck with sorting that one out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my (past, thank the lord) experience of working with HMRC I can honestly assure you that even when it seems impossible, the maxim "Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence" can never be more appropriate.

A computer resetting a number to zero and denying that the number ever existed shouldn't be looked on as at all abnormal. Nor should the computer doubling it. In fact, if it brought the number back to life three years later as the number of children you have that wouldn't surprise me either.

I mainly worked with the PAYE and SA systems, and after Tax Credit were brought in we had to do a helluva lot of wacky stuff to try and get computers to spew out the right number, which often led to unforseen effects down the line.

Just one example of many, I once had to completely delete someone's PAYE record and start it again from scratch in order to move the record to their new employer and issue their repayment. This took a few days to complete in different stages, and at each stage the index the call centres could see was one day behind was was actually happening.

Because they just happened to phone a call centre on one of the days the index showed they didn't exist, they ended up with two records, believing that the Revenue had no idea who they were and that it certainly didn't have their claim, and were running around trying to get copies of all the information that I had been sitting in the background trying to deal with all along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only reason tax credits were brought in is for Brown to keep it off his 'spending' line. (note: a 'negative tax' is not considered spending by accounting convention!)

Yes it is; Tax Credit in excess of Income Tax paid is counted as welfare spending (rather than a means tested tax cut).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my (past, thank the lord) experience of working with HMRC I can honestly assure you that even when it seems impossible, the maxim "Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence" can never be more appropriate.

A computer resetting a number to zero and denying that the number ever existed shouldn't be looked on as at all abnormal. Nor should the computer doubling it. In fact, if it brought the number back to life three years later as the number of children you have that wouldn't surprise me either.

I mainly worked with the PAYE and SA systems, and after Tax Credit were brought in we had to do a helluva lot of wacky stuff to try and get computers to spew out the right number, which often led to unforseen effects down the line.

Just one example of many, I once had to completely delete someone's PAYE record and start it again from scratch in order to move the record to their new employer and issue their repayment. This took a few days to complete in different stages, and at each stage the index the call centres could see was one day behind was was actually happening.

Because they just happened to phone a call centre on one of the days the index showed they didn't exist, they ended up with two records, believing that the Revenue had no idea who they were and that it certainly didn't have their claim, and were running around trying to get copies of all the information that I had been sitting in the background trying to deal with all along.

Interesting and entirely believable. Have you ever tried to take this to the media? I really think they should be exposed for the charlatan system it is. The threatening letters they send out when they make mistakes are reason enough!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is believable. I'm the victim of an error that means my personal details are wrong on the DWP system. Staff at DWP have admitted that the problem was introduced with manual re-keying of data from one system into another. I'm not too annoyed at the manual re-keying because the results could have been just as catastrophic if an IT supplier had written a routine to do the work. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So how many billions does it take to get right?

Clever, well paid people can & do manage huge volumes & complexities with low error levels in the private sector.

Maybe the problem is that too much cash is being syphoned off by agencies, consultancies and senior civil servants?

Get serious cash to the processing staff and hands on IT workers and they will do the job well.

Would be very interesting to see an open & complete govt. cash flow analysis without any massaging by VIs.

You are having a laugh.

Government IT has 10 managers to every technician and that ratio actually increased when much of the IT work was outsourced in the 1990s

In addition there is no money to be made from joined up systems. Far better to have all the systems running on different operating systems and databases preferrably using a variety of off the shelf commercial packages that are then customised to meet 'departmental needs'. This requires endless amount of tinkering and constant 'technical refreshes' that keep the money rolling in to all parties. Above all under no circumstances must the government use Open Source software which might slash the costs overnight since that would stop the gravy train in its tracks.

The sad fact is that government IT systems are more badly designed and implemented than they were 20 years ago.There is almost zero serious analysis and design, software is thrown together and then released live with a bare minimum of testing. The wonder is not that it is bad but that it runs at all

Edited by realcrookswearsuits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every new system was worse than what it replaced, or rather, and this was part of the problem, what it partially replaced.

Half the story would be on one system, half the story on another, and another half on a third. Your task was to work out which bits made the whole true story, which bits that were supposed to talk to each other weren't, and out of those bits that should be the same but weren't, which was more likely to be right.

Old hands with a lot of experience in different areas and computer whizzes could do it, or at least knew the warning signs and what to look out for. They also knew the ways to beat the system in order to make it do what it was supposed to all along. Someone off the street stuck into a call centre with no training and only dealing with one tiny area; not a chance.

And all the while, you'd have the well paid people doing their level best to stop you doing the job you just bleeding wanted to get one with. For one example that hit the media, I refer you to http://www.leanblog.org/2007/02/bad-lean5s-hits-uk-media/

Edited by mikeymadman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old hands with a lot of experience in different areas and computer whizzes could do it, or at least knew the warning signs and what to look out for. They also knew the ways to beat the system in order to make it do what it was supposed to all along.

Interestingly the UK government has bought the line that those people can be replaced by people 6,000 miles away with no experience of the culture within government IT. Or that when it all falls apart flying those people here (with their entire family) on ICT visas will solve everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 152 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.