Headlines: September 19th, 1997

People who pay their dues to Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise and The Contributions Agency are becoming more aware that they can take their complaints to an independent arbitrator. Elizebeth Filkin, The Adjudicator for the three organisations, has published her annual report which shows a 10% increase in complaints investigated, compared to the previous year.Alan Reid of The Adjudicator’s Office said: “The increase in reported complaints is due mainly to more people knowing we are here. Publication of the report has already brought a steep rise in callers asking how they can complain. We expect that in the next month the call rate will increase about four times.”

The Adjudicator’s staff and the people loaned to them or hired from the private sector to carry out the investigations, are getting better at the job. Investigations completed in the year increased by 22% compared to the previous year.

The report shows that 45% of complaints against the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise were upheld, but the figure for The Contributions Agency was 80%. George Bertram, Chief Executive of the Agency said: “Staff have done well in recent years to improve the service given to customers. The fifth independent Customer Satisfaction Survey shows that more and more of our customers like what we do. It shows that 81% of customers are satisfied with the service they receive. But our service is still not perfect. There are a lot of our customers who are unhappy with the service they receive. We still have some way to go to improve our service further.”