The report also found that there is an absence of engagement at senior level in staff skills and that there is no specific body that examines the total spending on skills and decides whether it is being made in the right parts of the organisation.
For example, it needs better data and information on where it should take a more strategic approach and gain an early warning of future skills gaps, such as the risk of skills depleting as experienced staff retire. This is of particular concern in the department, as one in five staff in key business areas is over 55.
Many of the points in the report have been raised previously by HMRC’s own reviews but they have not made the changes needed. For example, the total number of training courses has not reduced from 2,000 courses in 2009, when an internal review raised concerns about poor focus in training provision.
Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: "At the level of the business as a whole, HMRC has no strategy to manage the £96m it spends each year on skills. Although the department is doing much to make sure it has the skills it requires, it needs a more systematic approach, where spending on skills is linked explicitly to the organisation's overall business objectives and a vision of how it should look in the future.
The report concluded that HMRC must focus on boosting staff skills if it is to meet its targets of shaving 25 per cent from its budget and increasing tax revenue by £7bn.
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