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Compliance Skills Programme Case Study

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) identified a need to develop the behavioural skills of a large cross-section of its management and tax professional staff within the Large Business directorate and the Large & Complex division of Local Compliance.  The aim was to bring their capabilities up to a standard which would match that of the private sector teams they are required to engage with.


Skill areas to be focused on included:


  • High-impact communication.

  • Team management.

  • Customer relationship management.

  • Technical leadership.

  • Commercial understanding.

  • Investigation and fact finding.

  • Dispute resolution and mediation.


Desired outcomes included:


  • Faster issue resolution.

  • More efficient use of resources.

  • Reduction in the number of non-essential customer enquiries.

  • Improved customer feedback.

  • Support for voluntary compliance.

  • Support for real time working.


Capita managed the project, engaging Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) to design the programme, and approaching a number of consultancies to provide facilitators. People Vision provided nine associates representing about a quarter of the total team. Facilitators were selected not only for their experience as coaches and trainers, but also for their backgrounds in management roles within the public sector and the financial services industry. 


Most of the delegates had extensive experience of technical training programmes, but little or no exposure to this sort of behavioural development work. The facilitators therefore needed to be sensitive in their approach, building trust quickly and establishing their credentials and credibility despite their lack of specialist tax knowledge.

It was also important that the facilitators should be consistent in their approach and style, requiring flexibility to adapt and integrate within a large delivery team.

People Vision faced a similar challenge in collaborating with a diverse range of partner organisations (HMRC, Capita, PwC, and other independent learning & development consultancies), engaging regularly with the other stakeholders throughout the process to ensure that the project management and delivery remained seamless.


PwC designed a 3-module programme for 14 cohorts, each cohort consisting of approximately 150 delegates.

Modules 1 and 2 began with one day of large scale plenary work for the whole cohort, involving practical activities, reflective pieces and discussions.  One facilitator supported each table group of 8-12 delegates. Interactive forum theatre sessions were also run with actors, allowing delegates to ‘direct’ a range of alternative approaches to some typical scenarios. On the second day of each module, delegates worked in syndicate rooms in groups of around 20, with two facilitators per group.

Module 3 was elective: delegates chose 3 out of a total of 5 half-day sessions on a variety of personal development topics. Two additional 1-day sessions, including workshops and Action Learning Sets, were provided for selected key managers, exploring coaching and feedback tools to develop high performing teams.

Tools used across the programme included:


  • GROW coaching model

  • BOOST feedback model

  • Ladder of Inference

  • Working Styles

  • Stakeholder Analysis

  • Project Management tools

  • Push-Pull influence model

  • Open Space Technology (Harrison Owen)

  • Action Learning Sets (Reg Revans)



Facilitators observed a significant development in the delegates between Modules 1 and 2: they were more positive towards the events and more open in their approach to the material. This was supported by strongly positive feedback for all modules, especially the elective workshops on offer in Module 3.

Due to the success of the first three modules, HMRC later commissioned a fourth, run as a 2-day syndicate event, which People Vision was invited to refine and pilot.

Additionally, People Vision designed and delivered Train the Trainer sessions for facilitators who were new to the programme, including several internal HMRC tutors.

People Vision have since been engaged on further projects with HMRC, including the Presenting to Large Audiences development programme for Senior Management.

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