Part 6: Managing change

Inland Revenue Department: Performance of taxpayer audit – follow-up audit.

In this Part, we:

Managing change in 2003

In our 2003 report, we concluded that the IRD needed to establish sound arrangements to promote and allocate accountabilities for the changes required for taxpayer audit.

We recommended that the IRD establish and implement sound arrangements for managing the changes required to taxpayer audit. Our 2003 report included details of the IRD’s proposals for managing the changes, which the IRD had started implementing at the time of our audit.

Our findings in 2006

Since our 2003 report, the IRD has established formal arrangements for managing the changes, which have included senior management review, allocation of staff resources, extensive communication structures, and a project management approach.

The programme of projects to develop taxpayer audit has been the main mechanism for the development of initiatives. This programme has had 47 staff seconded to it from relevant business areas since it was introduced in August 2004. The IRD recruited a programme manager specifically to run this project.

The programme has a good governance structure, which includes clear reporting arrangements to senior management through the programme’s steering committee. In addition, the programme manager regularly attends senior management meetings.

The IRD has allocated responsibility for change management to specific members of staff. There is a specific project for integrating the new arrangements for taxpayer audit. In addition, the IRD has introduced a senior role with the responsibility to manage and implement key project initiatives across taxpayer audit. The role provides an overview of the proposed changes, monitors communication, and encourages liaison with key stakeholder groups to ensure that the initiatives are integrated into normal business operations.

There are also a number of national groups (for example, the CRA National Forum and the National Quality Panel) that oversee the changes made, and provide input about how the changes are implemented into day-to-day operations.

An independent organisation also reviews the programme of change regularly, as part of the IRD’s governance protocols. This organisation submits formal reports to the programme’s steering committee.

The IRD has introduced changes on an ongoing basis since our last audit in 2003. A number of these were in progress at the time we published our 2003 report. These included creating the interim solution for managing audits, making improvements to the main analytical database, and introducing the taxpayer audit survey. Changes have been communicated to staff through the intranet, presentations, and workshops. In addition, staff have been involved in focus groups to give input to the proposed changes. This has encouraged the commitment of taxpayer audit staff to the changes.

The programme manager is currently drafting plans for the handover of the five core projects to the teams who will manage the new arrangements once they are operational. The projects will also be subject to a formal post-project review in line with the IRD’s established systems.

Our conclusion

In our view, the IRD has implemented our recommendation, and has established formal arrangements for managing the changes that were set out in a documented strategy endorsed by senior management. The arrangements included project management, senior management review, allocation of staff resources, and extensive communication structures that have kept staff at all levels well informed about the new audit methodology.

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