HMRC opens Croydon regional hub

HMRC has officially opened the doors to its first regional hub in Croydon, which 2,600 employees will occupy by 2021, in an opening ceremony held at the new offices headed by executive chair, Edward Troup. CCH Daily's Amy Austin reports

Situated directly outside east Croydon station, the new offices at Ruskin Square in Croydon were officially opened on the 12 September, although HMRC staff began gradually moving into the building from 24 July.

Croydon is the first of 13 regional hubs to have been built, taking just over two years to complete. The new building includes learning and collaboration spaces as well as training suites on the first floor.

Edward Troup, executive chair and permanent secretary at HMRC, told CCH Daily: ‘HMRC has controlled the fit-out of the building entirely. The office is open plan and has different styles of working areas which we have been piloting in existing offices in Nottingham, Birmingham and Newcastle, which has taught us how different business areas work best.’

The customer compliance team will be moved into the Croydon office and it will be the first time the customer segments of HMRC will be together.

The Mayor of Croydon was present at the opening ceremony with HMRC putting emphasise on working with the wider Croydon community in the future.

The 600 HMRC staff who are already based in Croydon will be moved to the new hub. Troupe said: ‘HMRC has run an induction programme for the staff moving to the Croydon hub so that by the time staff have moved in they know what the office will be like. We have already moved in staff from the existing Croydon office but we are moving teams from further away which is more disruptive and we recognise that some colleagues will make the choice not to move with us.’

The tax authority will occupy building one at Ruskin Square in Croydon on a 25-year lease with over 180,000 sq. ft. of office space.

HMRC’s restructuring plans have previously faced criticism from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after it questioned the budget and projected costs savings, claiming that the tax authority had under-estimated how much the restructuration would cost.

Edward Troup, executive chair and permanent secretary at HMRC, told CCH Daily: ‘We had initial projection of savings overall which have been refined over the years with the current estimate definitely being lower than what was set initially, but nevertheless there is still a financial saving.

‘Although it does have those savings I think where the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in a sense got the wrong end of the stick is that HMRC is doing this because as a business it cannot operate with lots of small offices. Collaboration and working as a team is absolutely essential.’

As part of HMRC’s office restructure project thousands of HMRC staff will relocate to a small number of locations from the current 137 local offices and centres across the country. Up to 6,000 redundancies are expected due to the geographic relocations. Moving to regional centres will save more than £300m up to 2025, with annual cost savings of around £90m from 2026, while improving customer service and modernising how HMRC work.

A 20-year lease has been signed at the New Waverley development in Edinburgh, which will include the Edinburgh HMRC regional centre and a 25-year lease has been signed in Cardiff. HMRC’s decision to locate its Liverpool hub in India Buildings has faced opposition from MPs and campaigners who say the planned alterations to the local landmark building will impact its appearance and remove a public amenity.

Report by Amy Austin

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