Useful or useless Board minutes - HM Revenue and Customs

In the interests of encouraging openness, this blog will occasionally highlight candid or uninformative board minutes.

Now we’re highlighting the board minutes for January 2007 of HM Revenue and Customs. The minutes have been written with an earnestness befitting HM Revenue and Customs. But they read like a spoof – as if written by a satirist of lack of information in government board minutes.

The minutes are of Revenue and Customs’ Executive Committee meeting on 16 January 2007.

Attendees included Paul Gray, then acting chairman, and Steve Lamey, Director General and Chief Information Officer. Also there was Chris Hobson, the Director of Communications and Marketing. The Director of Communications is usually the most influential member of the board of a large government department.

These are some unedited excerpts from the minutes:

“Local Compliance

Naomi Ferguson reported on the vision being developed for Local Compliance.

“Financial Update

Stuart Cruickshank updated the committee on the current financial position for 2006/07.

“Industrial Relations

Don Makepeace updated the committee on industrial relations issues.”

The minutes are not completely useless, however. We are told not only that Steve Lamey, the CIO, presented a paper on improving departmental committee structures, but also that the committee agreed with his proposals. The unedited board minutes reveal …

“Committee Structures

Steve Lamey presented a paper on improving departmental committee structures. The committee agreed with the proposals in the paper.”

So now we now what’s really going on within HM Revenue and Customs, and how the IT budget of about £400m a year is being spent.