This pilot project, run in three Inland Revenue offices in the Brighton area, builds on the government objective to be more responsive to the needs of the customer. This pilot has revitalised the relationship between the local Revenue and its staff union, and provided customers with more flexible services.
The Inland Revenue needed to extend its opening hours to the public to provide a more accessible service. The Revenue also wanted staff to have a good balance between work and personal life. The answer was ‘OurTime’ – a partnership between the Revenue and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) which gives staff options about their working hours and allows Revenue offices to open outside 9–5 and at weekends.
‘I haven’t got any childcare problems this summer, and I won’t have to pay a childminder’
Employee of Inland Revenue Corporate Services who collected flexi-credits by working Saturday mornings
‘A decent quality of working life, where people have some choice and autonomy over their working hours, is an essential prerequisite for any effective, modern organisation’
Jo Morris, Project Director
Various benefits were quantified during the pilot:
The Revenue hasn’t been able to quantify these intangible benefits. To date, the Revenue has primarily invested £60,000 covering salary, travel and subsistence costs of the project manager.
The Government had expressed its desire for public services to respond quickly to the needs and wishes of its users and to produce innovative solutions.
OurTime was a partnership between the Revenue and the PCS. PCS representatives were part of the project team and were key players in communicating the benefits of the scheme to their colleagues. Jointly with the Trades Union Congress., the PCS also provided the services of the project director.