Headlines: August 18th, 1998

The National Audit Office has listed how the Inland Revenue has gripped staff
corruption, committing substantial time and resources, following the conviction
of a senior tax inspector.

Michael Allcock was convicted in 1997 and imprisoned for five years on six
counts of corruption. Five other staff were disciplined, including demotion
for three.

When concerns were raised about Mr Allcock’s relationship with a taxpayer,
inquiries revealed he had received almost 150,000 pounds between 1987 and 1992, as well as air tickets, holiday accommodation, and other inducements from taxpayers.

The Department’s own finding was that its staff had been unfamiliar with the
standards expected of them – addressed through steps to remind staff of the
standards expected, including articles in its staff magazine highlighting cases
where staff have been disciplined for non-compliance.

Following work with the NAO the Department is considering a number of further
measures, such as periodic staff surveys to assess awareness of the standards expected, alerting managers to the warning signals in an employee’s behaviour, and extending vetting arrangements for staff most exposed to that risk.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, says that if the new controls are applied
actively and consistently, and further action is taken in response to his
recommendations, the risk of corruption should be substantially reduced.