The stressed out little darlin’s

At Wales’ biggest tax office in Llanishen, Cardiff, where 2,442 full-time equivalents work, a total of 12,599 working days were taken off over the past three financial years because of stress – varying between 15.81% and 20.07% of overall sickness rates.

On the back of this Ritchie says:

I am not surprised, but am saddened by this data.

HMRC staff have been subject to enormous pressure by cuts. Posts have been cut and not replaced. The burdens on some have become intolerable.

As bad, HMRC staff have to work in a service where the leadership of their own organisation has an anti-tax culture, and they in turn report to a government that clearly does not believe that it should solve our current national financial crisis by collecting the tax due to it.

It’s very easy to understand why people who want to undertake their work professionally find it difficult to do so when all that they think of value in what they do is undermined by the people they work for.

Shocking, isn’t it?

But, erm, 2,443 full time equivalents, there’s what, 220 working days in a year? So, over three years that’s 1,611,720 working days? Of which 12,599 were taken off because of stress? Or 0.8%?

Hmm:

The industries with the highest estimated prevalence rate of work-related stress in GB averaged over the last three years (2009/10 – 2011/12) were as follows;
Human health and social work activities with 2 090 cases per 100 000 people working in the last 12 months, education with 1 780 cases per 100 000 people, and public administration and defence with 1 810 cases per 100 000 people working in the last 12 months.
These industries have significantly higher estimated prevalence rates of work-related stress than across all industries averaged over 2009/10 – 2011/12.
When comparing the estimated prevalence rates of work- related stress in these three industry areas with the average of the previous three year period (2006/07-2008/09) there has been no statistical significant change in education and human health and social work. However, public administration and defence is statistically significantly lower than in the earlier period.
The occupations with the highest estimated prevalence rate of work-related stress in GB, averaged over the last three years (2009/10 – 2011/12) were as follows;
Nurses with 2 730 cases per 100 000 people working in the last 12 months, teaching and education professionals with 2 340 cases per 100 000 people, and welfare and housing associate professionals with 2 290 per 100 000 people.
These occupations have statistically significantly higher estimated prevalence rates of work-related stress than across all occupations averaged over 2009/10 – 2011/12.
When comparing the estimated prevalence rate of work-related stress for nurses, and teaching and educational professional occupations with the average of the previous three year period (2006/07 – 2008/09), there has been no statistical significant change. However, the prevalence rate for welfare and housing associate professionals is statistically significantly lower than in the earlier period.

Public administration and defence includes both those tax officials and all those PTSD cases from Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, and it’s falling since the days of the Brown Terror.

Hmm.

10 thoughts on “The stressed out little darlin’s”

  1. Perhaps he should start campaigning for tax simplification to make their lives easier?

    As bad, HMRC staff have to work in a service where the leadership of their own organisation has an anti-tax culture, and they in turn report to a government that clearly does not believe that it should solve our current national financial crisis by collecting the tax due to it.

    If they don’t like the policy of the organisation they work for the answer is simple: f*ck off and find another job like the rest of us. Employees don’t make policy.

    And how many times does he need to get slapped down on that tax gap error before someone takes the gloves off and makes it a knock out blow?

  2. ‘how many times does he need to get slapped down on that tax gap error before someone takes the gloves off and makes it a knock out blow?’

    Simon, I see him as Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, only fatter and less competent re economics..

  3. D’y know. Been thinking this over for a few minutes. I really can’t think of a career potentially less stressful than tax collecting. Maybe lighthouse keeping on 9 to 5 day shifts but even that’s stretching it. What do they find stressful? The lack of a clean roller-towel in the toilets?

  4. People will take time off from work if the are bored stiff.

    I saw big mine survey office disappear with the introduction of modern computers and survey equipment. The work that used to take 15 to 20 men can these days be performed by 1 or 2 guys.

    The accounting offices need to reflect the fact that computers are doing all the very mundane calculations, and that people are doing on=line filling. I would suggest that the HMRC offices are overstaffed by a factor of 3 to 4. The unions are pulling a fast one on the stupid guys we vote for. It is time we have an audit of the HMRC offices by a hard nosed consultancy firm, and then every ten years after that.

  5. Public sector employees are famous for taking more sick leave than their private sector counterparts.

    Clearly public sector employment represents a health and safety risk and should be banned.

  6. Bloke in Spain, Talking about jobs less stressful than slaving away in the tax offices of HMRC, I would suggest Father Chrismas or the Easter bunny.

  7. I call bullshit on most of them being for ‘stress’ anyway. A famously difficult condition to both diagnose and refute.

    Although, if you were the kind of person who believed you had the right to demand money from others, and those others resisted, I can see how that might become stressful. I hate it when the peasants answer back, quite ruins my day.

  8. Cardiff, of course, deals with public service pay. Badly, in my experience (trying to get Army Reserve pay onto a “D” code so I don’t end up with a significant tax bill just when I don’t need it – i.e. after Christmas) is usually utterly beyond them.

    Which is hardly going to be the most complex, even the odd bods at the top end with their personal service companies.

  9. Stress? Don’t make me laugh.

    I worked in a government office briefly and there was a guy in there who regularly took sick days. Once a month, he’d throw a sicky. Do that in the private sector, you’ll probably get pulled up for it.

    I could have replaced the team of 12 with a team of 8… no problem.

  10. The statistics show that the highest stress is in “justice and judicial activities” nearly twice that for the “Public Administration and defence” which includes tax collectors and, as Tim points out, the PTSD cases from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Worth noting that public sector has slightly more than twice the rate for private sector

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