Statement from the Chief Executive and Accountable Officer
I am pleased to report that a total combined net tax revenue for Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT) of £716m was reported in 2019-20. This revenue supports the delivery of public services across Scotland. More details on the devolved taxes can be found within the accompanying Annual Report and Accounts of the Devolved Taxes for 2019-20.
This year Revenue Scotland celebrated its fifth anniversary. In that time, we have become an organisation that embraces development and change and have firmly established our reputation for successful delivery. We have continued to develop our internal capability and strengthen our reputation as a modern tax authority.
In July 2019, we launched our new Scottish Electronic Tax System (SETS), on time and within budget, and, importantly, successfully managed the transition to the new system safely and securely. We also continued the development of our Scottish Tax Education Programme (STEP), a major initiative, which is focussed on building our capability as a tax authority with a framework of learning and development, which is designed by us, for us. In addition, we published our Compliance Strategy – a significant milestone for us – and began to look forward to the next Corporate Plan and People Strategy. Our tax work continues to grow in complexity and this year also marked some significant milestones in our compliance work including complex litigation. We are an organisation that proactively learns from our experience and focusses on continuous improvement and this ethos has been at the heart of our approach to responding to challenges as they arose in the year.
This year has seen the development of our new Equality Outcomes and Action Plan and the beginning of work to implement our Records Management Plan. Both plans focus on embedding best practice in all areas of our work. Linked to this are the steps forward in our digital agenda, with a new staff intranet and secure digital collaboration space. This has been crucial in supporting our recent move to remote working. We have also been working on the early stages of developing a new website, which will be a major focus for the coming year.
Alongside the SETS development, we have continued to improve and enhance our processes, increasing quality and efficiency. We have seen the results of this already, for example in the improvements to our KPIs relating to correspondence, opinions and reviews (KPIs 5, 8 and 9), which I am confident will see further improvement next year. This work will continue through our Target Operating Model Project and Continuous Improvement work. Again, this is testament to ours being a learning organisation that responds to and embraces the opportunities of change and that is committed to excellence.
Our response to COVID-19 was informed by our understanding of the risks which moving to remote working would bring to our organisation and we also carried out a comprehensive review of our corporate risks this year, involving risk managers, senior leaders and the Board. The resulting revised list of corporate risks has subsequently been considered by our Audit and Risk Committee and approved by the Board.
Staff development and engagement has been a big focus this year, with the development and delivery of new STEP modules, a staff conference on the theme of equality and diversity, and a programme of development for line managers. We saw a drop in the staff engagement score (KPI 7) in the results of the 2019 Civil Service People Survey. However, this has given us an opportunity to take stock of where we are, analyse the impact of the major change programmes on staff, and involve them in determining where we go next. We held an all staff event in January to co-produce an action plan and identify priorities. We undertook an evaluation exercise on our People Strategy with both staff and the Staffing and Equality Committee of the Board. The exercise found that the People Strategy had contributed to the successful development of the organisation over its three-year period. We have extended the strategy for a further year in order to allow us to align a new strategy with the new Corporate Plan, both now due in 2021. The development of the next People Strategy is a key project for 2020-21.
Nothing has demonstrated our ability to respond to change more clearly than the way that the organisation successfully transitioned to remote working in March due to the COVID-19 national 'lockdown'. Our response was driven by three principles: the health and wellbeing of our staff; the performance of our statutory functions; and the continued delivery of excellent customer service. To move all of our functions to operating remotely in a secure way, without interrupting the ability of taxpayers to submit tax returns was a major achievement. The work of the business continuity group, which led on all that was required to enable this, was admirable, and I would like to pay tribute to them, for their team working, the support they gave each other and for the way in which they enabled well considered, rapid decision making. We will be taking forward the learning from working remotely and the benefits of our technological investment into our ambitions for our next Corporate Plan.
As ever, it is not just what we do as an organisation that matters, but also how we do it and throughout what has been a sustained period of significant pressure and change for the staff of Revenue Scotland, what stands out is the way in which we have been able to continue to deliver and support each other. I would like to extend my thanks to all of our staff for their continued hard work and determination to deliver excellent public service.
We have also seen changes in the Senior Leadership Team this year, with Michael Paterson joining the team at the beginning of the year followed by Neil Ferguson and Mairi Gibson early in 2020. I was very pleased to welcome them to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and extend my thanks and best wishes for their new roles to Chris Myerscough, Stephen Crilly and Andrew Fleming who stepped down from the SLT during the year.
At the end of this year, I wish to thank my staff, our operational partners the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Registers of Scotland (RoS), our stakeholders, Scottish Government Ministers and officials, Members of the Scottish Parliament, and of course, taxpayers and their agents for supporting us in delivering our objectives for this year and who have been with us on this journey of change. I am looking forward to developing the next Corporate Plan and People Strategy and moving forward, learning from our experience during 2020.
Chief Executive of Revenue Scotland and Accountable Officer
This overview gives a summary of Revenue Scotland's purpose and objectives, key risks to the delivery of those objectives, together with its budget and performance for the year. Further detail is included within the Performance Analysis section on page 19.
The performance report includes a short performance summary and an analysis section which considers performance against each of the strategic objectives of the 2018-21 Corporate Plan.
Who we are and what we do
Revenue Scotland was established by the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 (RSTPA) and is responsible for the collection and management of the taxes fully devolved to Scotland – currently Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT).
As a Non-Ministerial Office, Revenue Scotland is part of the Scottish Administration and is directly accountable to the Scottish Parliament to ensure the administration of tax is independent, fair and impartial.
The Scottish Government is responsible for tax policy and the setting of tax rates. Revenue Scotland supports policy development through the provision of advice based on our operational experience. The Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) is responsible for providing independent forecasts of tax revenue in line with the Fiscal Framework. To support forecasting work, Revenue Scotland provides the SFC with SLfT and LBTT data in an anonymous, aggregated form.
Our Operating Environment
Revenue Scotland delegates the delivery of specific functions for the collection of SLfT to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and for the delivery of LBTT functions to Registers of Scotland (RoS) to enable the processing of paper-based tax returns. The delegation of those functions to RoS ceased on 24 July 2019. Revenue Scotland is also a partner agency along with SEPA and HMRC in the Multi Agency Tasking and Delivery Group run by Police Scotland.
We also work with the Welsh Revenue Authority and HMRC and other tax authorities on the British Isles Tax Authorities Forum for the purposes of compliance activity, and sharing knowledge and best practice in tax collection and management.
How we are governed
The Revenue Scotland Board currently comprises seven members appointed by Scottish Ministers through the Scottish Public Appointments process. The Board has responsibility for the strategic direction, oversight and governance of Revenue Scotland. Board members provide specialist knowledge in key areas and act as ambassadors for the organisation.
The Board has two committees; the Audit and Risk Committee and the Staffing and Equalities Committee, which undertake detailed scrutiny of key areas of work and report on these to the Board.
The Chief Executive is not a Board Member, but is accountable to the Board and acts in a personal capacity as the Accountable Officer for Revenue Scotland. The Chief Executive is responsible for the day-to-day leadership and operation of the organisation.
Further details about the activities of the Board, Committees and staff are contained in the Performance Analysis and Accountability Report sections.
How we are funded
Revenue Scotland is part of the Scottish Administration and has its own budget set out in the annual Budget Act. Where additional funding for major programmes is required (such as the replacement for the Scottish Electronic Tax System (SETS), proposals for funding are developed in line with the guidance on business cases in HM Treasury's "The Green Book: appraisal and evaluation in central government".
Revenue Scotland is responsible for managing its budget for each financial year to deliver its Statutory functions. Revenue Scotland has full authority to incur expenditure on individual items but this is subject to the limits imposed by the budget allocated by the Scottish Parliament and guidance from Scottish Ministers.
Revenue Scotland's Purpose and Vision
Revenue Scotland's 2018-21 Corporate Plan sets out the Purpose, Vision and Strategic Objectives of the organisation for this period.
The purpose of Revenue Scotland is "to efficiently and effectively collect and manage the devolved taxes which fund public services for the benefit of the people of Scotland."
Revenue Scotland's vision is "to be a recognised leader in the delivery of tax administration, and as experts in our field; adaptable to change, resilient to challenges and far reaching in our engagement."
2018-21 Strategic Objectives
1. Excelling in Delivery
Establish ourselves as experts in what we do: collecting and managing the devolved taxes through an accessible, convenient and taxpayer-focused service.
2. Investing in our People
Develop and support a highly skilled and engaged workforce, upholding the standards of professionalism and integrity.
3. Reaching Out
Build on our reputation as an accessible, collaborative and transparent public body, keen to learn from others and share our experiences and expertise.
4. Looking Ahead
Plan and deliver change and improvements to our systems and processes flexibly and on time.
How we deliver our purpose and measure our success
Revenue Scotland delivers its purpose through the strategic objectives in the Corporate Plan. Each year this is delivered through an annual business plan containing Key Projects, and this is signed off by the Board. Performance is measured against the strategic objectives through the use of key performance indicators as set out in the Corporate Plan, and against the objectives of the Key Projects.
A structured approach to performance management supports how we track, measure and record progress across the organisation. The annual business plan informs individual team plans and personal work objectives. Monthly reports are produced for the Senior Leadership Team that capture the collective contributions made to our overall performance, and a quarterly report is produced for the Board. The performance reports are also considered alongside regular assessment of our finance, analysis of risk and consideration of our capacity. These all contribute to the performance record and form the basis of our analysis of performance that follows.
National Performance Framework
Scotland's National Performance Framework (NPF) was launched in 2007, put into law in 2015, and last refreshed in 2018. The NPF sets an overall purpose and vision for Scotland. It highlights the broad National Outcomes that support the purpose and provides measures on how well Scotland is progressing towards the National Outcomes.
Our commitments in the Corporate Plan to the efficient and effective collection of tax, encouraging a culture of responsible tax paying and ensuring compliance with the wholly devolved tax regimes, ensures the availability of revenue to support the delivery of public services in Scotland and across all of the National Outcomes. In addition, Revenue Scotland contributes directly to the National Outcomes through investment in staff, commitment to equality, diversity and human rights, through working in collaboration with stakeholders and taxpayers and acting in an open, transparent and accountable manner.
|National Indicator||Excelling in Delivery||Investing in our People||Reaching Out||Looking Ahead|
|We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential.||✔|
|We live in communities that are inclusive resilient and safe.||✔||✔|
|We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures and expressed and enjoyed widely.||✔||✔|
|We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy.||✔||✔||✔|
|We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society.||✔||✔|
|We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment.||✔||✔|
|We have thriving and innovative businesses with quality jobs and fair work for everyone.||✔||✔|
|We are healthy and active.||✔||✔|
|We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination.||✔||✔||✔|
|We are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally.||✔||✔|
|We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally.||✔||✔|
Key Issues and Risks
There have been a number of issues faced by Revenue Scotland in 2019-20. The Board has been kept informed throughout and has scrutinised and monitored progress in managing these risks and issues.
The biggest challenge of 2019-20 was successfully delivering a new tax system (SETS), on time and on budget, while maintaining business as usual (BAU) and meeting our KPIs. The Programme Board and the Revenue Scotland Board provided close scrutiny of the programme for delivery of the new tax system and delivery risks were successfully managed. SETS was delivered on time and on budget in July 2019, and with a seamless migration of data from our previous system to the replacement system, with no mishap or data loss. Support services were increased during the transition period, with staff being drawn from across the organisation to provide a 'hypercare' service to assist agents using the new system and meanwhile operational KPIs were generally maintained or improved compared to the previous year. The successful delivery of, and transition to, the new system was the biggest challenge and most significant achievement of Revenue Scotland since it was established in 2015 and can be attributed to the hard work and outstanding dedication of our staff.
Revenue Scotland has operationally delivered a number of legislative changes made by Parliament during 2019-20. The Scottish Budget included changes to the tax rates and bands for non-residential leases for LBTT which took effect from 7 February 2020. Revenue Scotland successfully implemented changes to the tax system, the tax calculator on the website and issued guidance in support of this change. Changes were also made to the tax rates for Scottish Landfill Tax. Additionally, working with Scottish Government colleagues, Revenue Scotland made a significant contribution to the development of regulations to change the process for issuing LBTT daily penalties.
In 2019-20 we have been engaged in a number of significant tax litigation cases, which drew heavily from our legal and tax compliance teams and placed a significant burden on a number of key staff from across the organisation. A decision of the Upper Tribunal for Scotland clarified the legislative process in respect of daily penalties notices. In consequence, Revenue Scotland's process of issuing one combined notice ceased and instead two separate notices for different stages of the daily penalties processes were required. The issue of daily penalties was suspended pending consideration and a change has subsequently been made to the LBTT legislation to resolve this issue.
Cyber security continues to be a focus for Revenue Scotland, as the related risks develop all the time. The newly introduced Framework from the Scottish Government requires compliance from all public bodies and we will be working through that, as an enhancement to the Cyber Essentials accreditation already achieved by Revenue Scotland.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a significant challenge towards the end of the reporting period, with our priorities being the safety and wellbeing of our staff, maintaining the performance of our statutory functions and continuing to deliver excellent customer service. The Business Continuity Plan was put into action, and a group was established to oversee the decisions and measures required; and monitor performance during this crisis. The Board also provided regular input and oversight during this transition. Revenue Scotland successfully moved to predominantly working remotely as soon as a national "lockdown" was initiated towards the end of March 2020 without any interruption to taxpayers being able to submit tax returns. Having successfully overcome the initial challenges of moving to remote working, we have continued to focus on the health and wellbeing of staff, ensuring the fulfilment of our statutory duties, providing a high standard of service and protecting the confidentiality of taxpayer information. This has been reflected in our KPI performance, which has been maintained or improved in the first half of 2020-21.
In the course of the year, two issues arose affecting a small number of tax returns and a project team was established to resolve these. It was discovered during a process review that some compliance decisions had been taken by staff who had not been correctly designated, which could have called into question the original decisions. A workstream was established, and external assurance and internal audit work were commissioned. Revised controls were put in place to prevent a recurrence of this issue. Arrangements are in place for taxpayer legal costs in case of challenge to the decisions. A second issue arose relating to the new tax system, while the correct tax liability was submitted, there was an error that affected the quality of our tax calculation data in a group of cases. A workstream was established to identify and correct all errors, either through engagement with agents or through use of Revenue Scotland's correction powers, and a change to the system was implemented to minimise future errors. In both workstreams, taxpayers, and agents where appropriate, were kept informed.
This section gives an overview of Revenue Scotland's performance in 2019-20 against the delivery priorities articulated through the 2018-21 Corporate Plan.
Revenue Scotland's Annual Business Plan includes 10 Key Projects for 2019-20, which represent a large investment and/or which are of strategic importance to the organisation and contribute to the delivery of the Corporate Plan. At the end of 2019-20, most projects were either complete or delivering well. An additional project, the Tax Issues Resolution Project was added to the Business Plan during the year.
|New information collaboration platform
A project to replace the existing systems used for collaboration and file sharing.
|The intranet has now been launched and the new file sharing system in use with files being transferred over. The project is on track to finish at the end of May.||Green|
|LEAP – Phases 1 and 2
A programme to deliver a new Scottish Electronic Tax System and subsequent updates alongside a Business Improvement workstream.
|Phases 1 and 2 have been delivered. The lessons learned and project closure report are on track to be delivered on time.||Complete|
|STEP – Design and Development
A programme to design and deliver modules of the Scottish Tax Education Programme.
|The project is on track to complete the design and development stage by the end of quarter 2, 2020-21 as planned. Modules are successfully being adapted for remote delivery due to COVID-19.||Green|
|Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report
A project to develop a new set of Equality Outcomes for 2020-24 with an accompanying action plan. In addition the project will produce the 2020 Equality Mainstreaming Report.
|The new outcomes, action plan and mainstreaming report were delivered on time and published at the end of April 2020.||Complete|
|Call Management System
A project to undertake requirements gathering and plan for a subsequent procurement for a new call management system.
|The requirements gathering exercise is complete.||Complete|
|Developing Tax Compliance
A project to produce and deliver the Tax Compliance Plan in accordance with the Tax Compliance Strategy.
|Significant litigation during the year drew heavily on the resources of our compliance and legal staff, as did the work to introduce our new tax system and make progress with our STEP program. The Compliance plans will be reshaped and brought back on track during 2020-21 with no loss of coverage due to the 3 year enquiry windows.||Red|
|New People Strategy
A project to develop a revised Revenue Scotland People Strategy.
|The evaluation of the 2018-2020 People Strategy was completed on time. A decision was taken to extend the current people strategy period to 2021 so that the new strategy will align with the new Corporate Plan. This project is therefore on track according to the new schedule.||Green|
|Develop approach to RS Website design and content
An initial project to develop the requirements for the new website and propose an approach. In addition the project will propose and deliver short-term improvements to the existing website.
|Updating and improving guidance is now making good progress after a slow start due to available staff resource. Proposals for the new website have been prepared but approval was delayed due to COVID-19. These will be put forward for approval in due course.||Amber|
A project to manage tax litigation cases.
|Litigation work is on target. We are awaiting the outcome of one case and all others were initially put on hold in April 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, Tribunal hearings have subsequently resumed.||Green|
|Tax Issues Resolution Project
A project to resolve a small number of returns/cases impacted technical issues.
|This project using teams from across the tax and finance functions is on track to be completed during 2020-21.||Green|
Green: Ongoing within project plan parameters.
Amber: Behind project plan dates but will be completed.
Red: Seriously behind schedule and requires mitigations.
Key Performance Indicators Overview
The 2018-21 Corporate Plan set 11 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which demonstrate Revenue Scotland's performance against the Plan. Full details relating to each KPI can be found in the Performance analysis and page numbers are given in the table.
In 2019-20, five out of 11 KPIs were exceeded and some were exceeded by a significant amount. For example, the target for KPI 4: Average length of enquiries is 548 days, in 2019-20 this figure was down to 152 days, which is also half the previous year's average.
KPI 8 which relates to the time taken to answer correspondence from taxpayers, narrowly exceeded the target this year with 96% which represents an improvement on the figure of 90% last year, which did not meet the target.
KPI 3: Tax secured through compliance activity, which is discussed in more detail on page 22, saw revenue reduced since 2018-19. KPI 10 is not applicable this year as there were no stage two complaints.
Of the four KPIs that were not achieved, the 99% figure for KPI 5, relating to reviews, was very close to the 100% target, and an improvement on last year. The 6 reviews not concluded in time were all in quarter one after which all reviews were completed on target.
KPI 7, which relates to the employee engagement index, saw a drop of 13% since last year. Subsequent staff engagement identified a number of issues, and in particular the impact of major projects on workloads. An action plan was co-produced with staff and is being implemented.
KPI 9 (proportion of opinions responded to within 25 days) showed an 11% improvement on the previous year and the three opinions which resulted in this figure were all legacy cases from the previous year. As with reviews, subsequent opinion cases were resolved within target. These improvements represent sustained focus on improving processes.
KPI 11, the administrative cost of tax was not achieved this year.
|1||Average waiting time for all calls made to the support desk||<10 seconds||4.5 seconds||5.2 seconds||Exceeded|
|2||Proportion of all tax returns that receive no Revenue Scotland intervention||Comparison to 2017-18 baseline (98.7%)||99.5%||99.6%||Exceeded|
|3||Tax secured through Revenue Scotland's compliance activity||2017-18 baseline (£2.4m)||£862,403||£1.0m||Down|
|4||Average length of enquiries||18 months (548 days)||152 days||372 days||Exceeded|
|5||% of reviews concluded within statutory timescales (75 days)||100%||99%
|6||% appealable Revenue Scotland decisions which are upheld to conclusion||50%||62%
|7||Employee engagement index (EI) to be in the top 25% of all civil service organisations||Top 25% of organisations||99th of 106 organisations
EI = 54%
|22nd of 102 orgs
EI = 67%
|8||Proportion of taxpayer or agent-initiated correspondence responded to within 10 working days (excluding opinions)||95%||96%||90%||Exceeded|
|9||Proportion of opinion requests responded to within 25 days||95%||81%
|10||% of level 2 complaints closed within target (20 days)||100%||No level 2 complaints||2/2||N/A|
|11||Administrative cost of tax received against OECD benchmark
(Revenue Scotland annual resource costs less any programme costs divided by total tax & penalties reported)
|0.73% (OECD UK Benchmark)||0.88%||0.73%||Not achieved|
The figures given below are the final budget (revenue and capital) after adjustment in the Spring Budget Review.
|Expenditure against Resource Budget||
Actual Total £'000
Budget Total £'000
|Financial Year 2019-20 Expenditure||7,067||7,024|
|Financial Year 2018-19 Expenditure (restated)||6,227||6,210|
|Expenditure against Capital Budget||
Actual Total £'000
Budget Total £'000
|Financial Year 2019-20 Expenditure||1,827||1,791|
|Financial Year 2018-19 Expenditure||1,228||1,600|
In 2019-20, revenue expenditure exceeded the budget by £43,000 (0.6%) and capital expenditure exceeded the budget by £36,000 (2.0%).
Scottish Ministers have confirmed that they are content with these small overspends and a letter of assurance has been provided by the Scottish Government.
|Revenue net of repayment, excluding interest payable and revenue losses||2019-20
Tax, penalties and interest receivable Total
Budget Act Estimates Total
Tax, penalties and interest receivable Total
|Land and Buildings Transaction Tax||597,368||643,000||554,185|
|Scottish Landfill Tax||118,959||104,000||148,517|
|Penalties and interest||735||0||3,135|
The values in the above table are for tax returns and amendments submitted during 2019-20 and adjusted for the value of LBTT and SLfT returns received during April and May 2020 which relate to the period up to March 2020. The returns submitted during 2019-20 may include adjustments to returns originally submitted in previous financial years. However, unless these adjustments were received in April or May of the relevant financial period and therefore accrued into the financial statements of that year, these are accounted for in the year of receipt.
The LBTT revenue raised in 2019-20 is dependent on performance of both the residential and non-residential property markets within Scotland. The SLfT revenue raised in 2019-20 is dependent upon categories and tonnage of waste deposited in landfill sites within Scotland.
Independent forecasts of LBTT and SLfT revenue are published by the Scottish Fiscal Commission, which publishes forecast evaluation reports comparing outturn figures to Budget Act estimates, detailing the reasons for any differences observed.
Further information on the collection of the devolved taxes is given in the Annual Report and Accounts for the Devolved Taxes for 2019-20 which is published separately.
Performance against the Revenue Scotland Corporate Plan 2018-21
The 2018-21 Corporate Plan sets out how Revenue Scotland will carry out its functions under the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 (RSTPA). The Corporate Plan identifies four strategic objectives and 18 underlying objectives. In addition, the Plan sets out 11 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which measure the success of the organisation in delivering against these objectives. Our performance against each of the strategic objectives is considered in the analysis below; including discussion of our performance against the KPIs. A summary of the KPI results can also be found in the performance summary on page 16.
1. Excelling in Delivery
We seek to establish ourselves as experts in what we do: collecting and managing the devolved taxes through an accessible, convenient and taxpayer-focused service.
In order to achieve this we have four underlying objectives:
- Provide an efficient and reliable service to contribute to the smooth completion of transactions.
- Be firm and consistent in applying the devolved taxes legislation to collect the right amount of tax.
- Introduce improvements to our systems and processes that are informed by user experience.
- Continue to invest in our relationships with taxpayers and their agents.
These four objectives inform all the work of the organisation in the collection and management of tax and we consider our performance against these. In addition, KPIs 1-6 and 8-10 are used to measure performance in this area.
During the year Revenue Scotland's total revenue was £717m (2018-19: £706m) of tax revenue of which £597m (2018-19: £554m) related to LBTT and £119m (2018-19: £149m) related to SLfT and £1m related to penalties and interest (2018-19: £3m).
Guidance, advice and support
Revenue Scotland seeks to provide an efficient and reliable service and support the smooth completion of transactions, with guidance and support to help taxpayers pay the right tax (including a tax calculator); and seeks to be clear about the consequences of non-compliance such as penalties. We aim to respond promptly to enquiries and requests for tax opinions.
Our guidance is regularly updated and improved. In 2019-20, this included comprehensive guidance to support users of the new online tax system, and updates to the relevant guidance to reflect the changes in LBTT rates and bands for leases announced by the Minister for Public Finance and the Digital Economy on 6 February 2020. The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Tax Rates and Tax Bands) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 came into force on 7 February 2020.
Revenue Scotland also analyses taxpayer feedback and behaviour to identify areas where guidance could be improved in order to provide better support. This work supports compliance activity, identifying common situations where returns have been filed incorrectly and improving guidance to enable returns to be correct first time, avoiding additional administration costs and penalties. In 2019-20 this included analysis of First Time Buyers. The results indicated that improved guidance could be of benefit to taxpayers. This work will continue in 2020-21.
Effectiveness of support and guidance
KPI 2: Proportion of all tax returns that receive no Revenue Scotland intervention, gives an indication of the efficiency and effectiveness of Revenue Scotland's procedures, guidance and support. The majority of returns are submitted electronically and require no intervention from Revenue Scotland. A high proportion of tax returns being accepted as right first time indicates that taxpayers are clear about the amount of tax that they ought to pay, with a target rate corresponding to the 2017-18 baseline of 98.7%. The 2019-20 rate remained broadly consistent with last year, exceeding the target, with 99.5% of returns requiring no formal intervention. However, towards the end of 2019, a small group of returns submitted using the new tax system were identified as having inconsistencies in the calculations. Updates were made to the system to improve accuracy and a workstream was initiated (part of the Tax Issues Resolution Strategic Project) to correct these minor errors where possible, or contact agents asking them to review returns and make corrections. This project is now complete.
Prompt response to taxpayer calls and correspondence
KPI 1: Average waiting time for all calls made to the support desk, gives an indication of how promptly we respond to telephone queries, with a target average waiting time of less than 10 seconds. We continued to perform within target this year, improving on last year's result (5.2 seconds) with a mean waiting time of 4.5 seconds.
After SETS went live in July, a 'hypercare' service was put in place to support agents using the new system. Additional call handling resource and specific training was provided to deal with increased numbers of calls from agents. Towards the end of the year the telephone support desk was temporarily suspended at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown due to the swift move to home-working. Online messaging services were still available during this time and the telephone service is now back up and running following system changes and additional risk assessments and training for staff.
KPI 8: Proportion of tax payer or agent-initiated correspondence responded to within 10 working days (excluding opinions), indicates how promptly we are responding to queries. The target for this KPI is that 95% of taxpayer or agent initiated correspondence should be responded to within 10 working days, regardless of how they contacted us. In 2019-20, the target has been exceeded with 96% of correspondence replied to within 10 days. This is an improvement of 6% on last year and reflects the work that was done towards the end of the previous year to improve processes. The results of this could be seen towards the end of 2018-19 and have been sustained and improved upon during 2019-20.
Prompt and high quality Opinions Service
Revenue Scotland offers an opinions service for complex tax queries where a taxpayer or their agent is uncertain about their tax liability for a specific transaction after consulting the legislation and guidance. The service aims to resolve genuine cases of difficulty or uncertainty, rather than providing a clearance service.
KPI 9: Proportion of opinion requests responded to within 25 days gives an indication of how promptly Revenue Scotland is responding to opinions, thereby quickly reducing areas of uncertainty for taxpayers. The target is that 95% of opinion requests should be fully concluded within 25 days. This year, in 81% of cases (13 out of 16) Revenue Scotland gave an opinion within 25 days. Although the target was not met this year, this represents an improvement on the 70% achieved in the previous year. The three cases which were not answered within target were legacy cases from 2018-19, which were concluded in quarter one of 2019-20 and therefore impacted the achievement of the target for the rest of the year.
Approach to Tax Compliance
Revenue Scotland has a duty to protect the revenue and ensure that the correct amount of tax is collected. We do this through encouraging a culture of responsible taxpaying, where individuals and businesses pay their taxes as the Scottish Parliament intended. We work to make it as easy as possible for taxpayers to understand and comply with their obligations and pay the right amount of tax, while at the same time working to detect and deter non-compliance.
Our approach to tax compliance has three key elements:
- Enabling – helping taxpayers comply with their tax obligations – including guidance, a user-friendly online system, support desk, tax opinions and stakeholder engagement.
- Assurance – helping taxpayers get to the right position – including checks applied to returns to ensure they are complete and accurate and highlighting any errors, landfill inspections, sharing of intelligence with other tax authorities, use of investigatory powers, statutory enquiries and assessments.
- Resolution – solving disputes, pursuing non-compliance and applying penalties where required.
Revenue Scotland works in collaboration, sharing information, intelligence and knowledge regularly with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA,) within the legal gateways in the RSTPA and through Information Sharing Agreements for the purpose of civil or criminal proceedings. We attend regular meetings with HMRC and the WRA to discuss matters of mutual interest regarding our taxes.
KPI 3: Tax secured through Revenue Scotland's compliance activity measures additional revenue raised as a direct result of determinations, assessments, adjustments and penalties where non-compliance has been identified. These activities generated £0.48m of tax in the year 2019-20 (2018-19: £0.36m ) and £0.38m of paid penalties and interest (2018-19: £0.66m), giving a total direct compliance yield of £0.86m (2018-19: £1.03m). Whilst the revenue secured through compliance activity has been lower in 2019-20 than in the previous year, this figure does not include any yield from significant longer-running cases still underway, where that yield will not be recognised until the end of the enquiry, and when all potential appeals and further litigation have been exhausted. Additionally the figure does not reflect upstream compliance activity designed to ensure for example that the systems and guidance assist taxpayers to comply with their obligations.
Revenue Scotland has a statutory power to enquire into anything contained or required to be contained in a tax return. Formal notices are issued to the taxpayer on the opening and closing of an enquiry. There is a statutory timescale for completing enquiries of three years (1,095 days) from the date the return in question was required to be filed (or if filed late, was actually filed).
KPI 4: Average length of enquiries gives an indication of the standard of service to taxpayers. The target for the year was 548 days (18 months). This ambitious target is broadly half the statutory timescale, which reflects the commitment to concluding enquiries in a timely manner, providing minimal uncertainty for the taxpayer. In 2019-20, the average length of enquiries for the year was 152 days, which is well within target and also an improvement on the previous year (372 days). The enquiries undertaken involve differing levels of complexity. The positive figures reflect sustained management focus on enquiry work and have been achieved alongside an increase in enquiries closed from 31 in 2018-19 to 70 in 2019-20.
There are three main routes for taxpayers, agents and other members of the public who wish to dispute an action or decision by Revenue Scotland or on our behalf by our partner organisations.
Complaints are expressions of dissatisfaction about the organisation's action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by Revenue Scotland or on our behalf. They are distinct from tax disputes. Where complaints are received, we seek to learn from these to improve our operational procedures and processes.
Revenue Scotland's complaints handling procedure seeks to resolve taxpayer dissatisfaction as close as possible to the point of service delivery and to conduct thorough and impartial investigations of complaints so that evidence-based decisions can be made on the facts of the case. The complaints handling process complies with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman's (SPSO) guidance. This allows for two opportunities to resolve complaints internally: stage 1 – frontline resolution; and stage 2 – investigation.
KPI 10: percentage of complaints closed within 20 working days, measures whether or not Revenue Scotland is promptly responding to complaints and the target is for 100% to be closed within the 20 day period. There were no stage 2 complaints received this financial year, which compared to previous years is a marked improvement and suggests that our customers have broadly been satisfied with the services provided.
One complaint was escalated to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman during the previous year and their findings were subsequently submitted to the Scottish Parliament on 24 July 2019. We fully accepted the recommendations made by the SPSO and an improvement plan including updated procedures and delivery of complaint handling training for all staff was implemented this year. A new module on 'Engaging with Taxpayers' for the Scottish Tax Education Programme was also developed, and this includes a major focus on complaint handling.
Tax Disputes - Reviews and Appeals
Revenue Scotland aims to minimise tax disputes by providing clear information and guidance to taxpayers and having robust decision making processes in place. In the event of a dispute a taxpayer may request an internal review of a decision, request – or agree to – mediation, or appeal a decision to the Scottish Tribunals. The RSTPA sets out the decisions which are reviewable and appealable. An appeal may be made regardless of whether or not a review has been sought or mediation entered into.
The Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (FTTS) decides appeals against Revenue Scotland decisions, and the Upper Tribunal (UT) decides appeals on a point of law from decisions of the FTTS.
KPI 6: Percentage of appealable Revenue Scotland decisions which are upheld to conclusion relates to tax disputes, and includes reviews and appeals to tribunals. The target for this KPI is that 50% are upheld and in 2019-20, 62% of decisions were upheld compared with 56% last year. The majority of the 517 cases were reviews, with a small number of cases concluded by the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland. A large percentage of reviews arise from the imposition of late filing and late payment penalties. The penalty cases that are cancelled, or varied on review generally reflect cases where we are subsequently being presented with evidence of reasonable excuse or special circumstances.
Taxpayers and their agents have the right to request that Revenue Scotland reviews any decision that affects whether a person is liable to pay tax, the amount of tax due, the date the tax is due and payable and the imposition of a penalty or interest. Reviews must be concluded within the statutory timescale of 75 days.
KPI 5: Percentage of reviews concluded within statutory timescales (75 days) gives an indication of whether or not Revenue Scotland are providing an efficient and reliable service. The target for this KPI is that 100% of reviews are concluded within the statutory timescale. In 2019-20, we narrowly missed this target with 99% of cases concluded within the 75 day period.
Although we did not meet the target, performance has been good for the majority of the year, with 498 cases concluded on time. The six cases which were not concluded within the 75 day period, were all concluded during the first quarter of 2019-20. Quarter one was also a busy quarter with the highest number of reviews concluded (187). In the remaining three quarters of the year, 100% of reviews were concluded on time. This year also represents an improvement in performance since 2018-19 where 90% of reviews were concluded with the 75 day period.
During 2019-20, 28 appeals were initiated in the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland, and three were still in progress from 2018-19. A total of nine cases were withdrawn and the Tribunal made decisions on 13 appeals. All of which were dismissed. At the end of March 2020, nine cases were still in progress and tribunals were paused due to the COVID-19 'lockdown'.
No cases progressed to the Upper Tribunal for Scotland in 2019-20. No decisions were issued by the Upper Tribunal in 2019-20.
Revenue Scotland did not receive any requests for mediation in 2019-20.
2. Investing in our People
The second strategic objective in our Corporate Plan, 'Investing in our People' reflects the high value the organisation places on the skills, capacity and engagement of the people in the organisation, and recognition of the need for investment to develop and support a highly skilled and engaged workforce, upholding the required standards of professionalism and integrity.
The delivery of this strategic objective is primarily measured by the organisation's performance against the five underlying objectives set out in the Corporate Plan and through KPI 7. The five underlying objectives are:
- Maintain and enhance a highly skilled workforce.
- Support staff to understand their contribution to the wider work of Revenue Scotland.
- Maintain a culture where staff feel their contribution is valued and that they have a future in the organisation.
- Encourage staff to identify with Revenue Scotland's strategic objectives and contribute actively to their achievement.
- Strengthen our leadership capacity.
Revenue Scotland's People Strategy reflects and underpins delivery of Strategic Objective 2. The People Strategy, launched in 2017, has five themes:
- Our Jobs;
- Culture; and
In the final quarter of the year, COVID-19 presented one of the biggest challenges faced by the organisation. Our staff have quickly and successfully adapted to the change, including getting to grips with new technologies and different ways of working. With regards to staff, health and wellbeing during this unprecedented situation has been our top priority, while also maintaining performance across the organisation. A range of measures have been put in place to support this including:
- Training to support staff working remotely.
- Training in using digital tools to facilitate contact and collaboration.
- More frequent 'check-ins' between line managers and staff to discuss wellbeing and workload.
- Individual risk assessments for remote working and provision of any additional equipment required.
Having met this challenge at the end of the year, there has been significant progress with regards to our 2017-20 People Strategy during the reporting period. The strategy has been extended for a year and the new strategy will be developed and published alongside the next Corporate Plan in 2021.
Learning and Development is a key part of the People Strategy. Revenue Scotland is committed to investing in our people and we recognise that a highly skilled workforce underpins and enables everything we do. The Scottish Tax Education Programme (STEP) project met its milestones with the design and delivery of the first group of nine foundation modules, and a subsequent specialist module has been designed and piloted. With the move to remote working, the modules have been successfully adapted for remote delivery, making innovative use of interactive tools and techniques. This has been an outstanding achievement by the small group of staff and training champions who led this.
There has also been a strong focus on line manager capability this year, with the formation of a line managers' group to promote collective decision making and Learning and Development (L&D), with training for line managers in areas such as leading under pressure and bullying and harassment. In addition, staff who are expecting to give evidence at tribunals have received tailored training to support them.
An independent evaluation was undertaken of the People Strategy, which included undertaking workshops with staff, the Senior Leadership Team and members of the Staffing and Equalities Committee of the Board. The findings were that overall the People Strategy has contributed to the good progress made in the development of our organisational capability and that the next strategy should have a stronger focus on resourcing and workforce planning, and 'skill paths' for individual roles to support development and performance. A capability matrix is planned for development to support this. The decision was made to extend the People Strategy until 2021 to align with the next Corporate Plan.
Staff conference events were held in October and January. The Event in October had Equality and Diversity as its main focus with guest speakers who talked about equality and discrimination including sharing their own experiences. Staff were also encouraged to contribute ideas of how they could contribute within their jobs to creating a more equal organisation. These helped to inform the development of the new Equality Outcomes published in April 2020. The event in January focused on the results of the Civil Service People Survey, more details are given below.
KPI 7: Employee engagement index is included in the results of the Civil Service People Survey. It reflects staff experience across the nine themes in the survey, 'My Work'; 'Organisational Objectives and Purpose'; 'My Manager'; 'My team'; 'Learning and Development'; 'Inclusion and Fair Treatment'; 'Resources and Workload'; 'Pay and Benefits' and 'Leadership and Managing Change'.
In 2019, the employee engagement index for Revenue Scotland dropped from the 2018 figure of 67% to 54%. This places Revenue Scotland 99th out of 106 Civil Service organisations compared to last year's position of 22nd out of 102. This means that we did not meet our target to place within the top 25% of Civil Service organisations. Engagement with staff suggests that impacts from the delivery of SETS, a transformational, cross-organisational project, in 2019 and other major projects such as the preparation for litigation cases, experienced this year, have contributed to this downturn in the engagement score. Positive discussions with staff towards the end of this year provide a solid foundation for improvement. These discussions took place both in individual teams and also at the all staff event in January. At the event, staff co-created an action plan for the organisation and identified three 'pledges': what they could do for themselves, for their team and for Revenue Scotland. The areas for action identified in this engagement were 'Communication', 'Leadership', 'Planning Work and Change', 'Learning and Development' and 'Respect and Value'.
3. Reaching Out
We aim to build on our reputation as an accessible, collaborative and transparent public body, keen to learn from others and share its experience and expertise.
The building of Revenue Scotland's reputation in these areas is measured by the organisation's performance against the five underlying objectives set out in the 'Reaching Out' section of the Corporate Plan:
- Provide support to the Scottish Government and others on tax policy matters.
- Provide support to the Scottish Fiscal Commission in its tax forecasting role.
- Support current and emerging public bodies in Scotland and beyond.
- Continue to engage with the wide range of skills and experience that exists within the Scottish tax community.
- Keep up to date with innovative developments in tax administration in other countries.
Revenue Scotland meets regularly with Scottish Government, providing advice on tax matters based on our operational experience, and we provide detailed information about the devolved taxes to the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC), which is also publicly available, to support the independent forecast of Scottish tax revenue.
We engage more widely with MSPs and stakeholders, gave written and oral evidence to the Finance and Constitution Committee of the Scottish Parliament, and held a launch event at the Parliament for the 2018-19 Annual Reports and Accounts in October 2019. This event attracted cross-party representation and a range of stakeholders. Revenue Scotland is represented on the Devolved Taxes Legislation Working Group, which is jointly chaired by the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.
Revenue Scotland also engages regularly with other public bodies in Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond, and this continued during 2019-20, engaging with HMRC and the Welsh Revenue Authority in particular on tax administration, and with other public bodies on a range of corporate issues. These include areas such as risk management, business planning and equalities and diversity.
We held a SLfT forum in June 2019, providing a platform to engage with and hear views from Scotland's landfill sector and staff also attended a range of events to engage with organisations and individuals across Scotland's diverse tax, financial and legal sectors. For example, in 2019-20 Revenue Scotland staff regularly attended events run by the Women in Tax Network. We also attended a data users event run by the Welsh Revenue Authority and spent a day with their analysts.
The British Isles and Northern Ireland Tax Authorities Forum (BITAF) met twice during 2019-20 and is attended by Revenue Scotland, HMRC, Isle of Man Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, the States of Guernsey Taxes Office, the States of Jersey Taxes Office, and the Welsh Revenue Authority. The forum enables the sharing of knowledge, experience and opportunities. In addition, the forum's 'Interchange Group' worked together to progress plans for short-term interchange opportunities and to develop Learning and Development initiatives.
Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (SLCF)
The SLCF was established to provide funding for community or environmental projects in recognition of the dis-amenity experienced from landfill activity.
The SLCF continues to function well. Approved Bodies continue to receive contributions, enrol projects and ensure that projects are delivered successfully.
This year, Scotland's communities and environment benefited from a further £5.98m of funding being awarded to 280 projects that will be delivered over the coming year. This means that in total, over the last five years that the SLCF has been operational, £40.3m has been paid into the fund and almost £33m of projects have been funded.
The value of qualifying contributions made to the fund this year (£6m) was almost £1.7m less than last year (£7.7m). This is significantly less than contributed in any previous year but is comparable to the Scottish Fiscal Commission (£6.2m) forecast from December 2018. This is a trend that is forecast to continue. Although the implementation of the ban of Biodegradable Municipal Waste to landfill has been delayed (from January 2021 to January 2025), the reduction in contributions to the SLCF that we have seen this year is likely attributable to waste producers starting to get ready to divert waste from landfill.
It is almost certain that the reduction in landfilling will continue over the next 4 years, leading to a reduction in possible contributions to the SLCF, although this might not be at the same rate forecast before the ban was delayed.
4. Looking Ahead
The final strategic objective in the Revenue Scotland Corporate Plan, 'Looking Ahead' aims to plan and deliver change and improvements to our systems and processes flexibly and on time.
The delivery of this strategic objective is primarily measured by the organisation's performance against the four underlying objectives set out in the Corporate Plan and through the KPIs. The underlying objectives are:
- Provide the organisation with flexibility and resilience by investing in staff skills and knowledge.
- Develop our systems and processes to meet our users' requirements and adapt quickly to change.
- Fostering a culture of continuous improvement to enable us to adapt and respond to the need for change.
- Put in place proportionate resources for the challenge ahead.
Optimising service delivery
KPI 11: Administrative cost of tax received against OECD benchmark is calculated as Revenue Scotland's annual resource costs less any programme costs divided by total tax and penalties reported.
This KPI measures the administrative cost of tax received and operates to a target of 0.73% which is the most recent benchmark calculated by the OECD for taxes collected in the UK - the median of all OECD countries is 0.87%. In 2019-20 Revenue Scotland's administrative costs were 0.88%.
Revenue Scotland takes a Continuous Improvement approach seeking to improve efficiency and deliver better results. For example in 2019-20 several of the Tax Operations processes have been streamlined and improved, including the process for reviews.
Leading, Enabling, Ambition, Performance ('LEAP') Programme
The LEAP programme saw the successful launch of the new SETS, the first phase of which went live successfully on 24 July 2019. Within the first three weeks of launch, over 2,600 individual accounts were active online and over 9,000 returns were filed. Users have been at the core of this development. The developments have been informed by User Research to ensure it met their needs, and they were supported through the transition with an enhanced 'hypercare' support desk which ensured we had capacity to provide assistance, record and, where required, fix any issues.
New, comprehensive guidance for the system was made available on our website and is kept up to date. A subsequent phase was launched in April 2020.
The programme also included a business improvement project and continuous improvement strand. This informed the development of a new 'Target Operating Model' for Revenue Scotland. This work will continue beyond the life of the programme and the system will continue to evolve over time as part of our programme of continuous improvement.
Revenue Scotland operates under an established Risk Management Framework (the Framework) which aligns with the best practice guidance presented through the Scottish Public Finance Manual and Scottish Government's Risk Management Guidance document.
The approach to Risk Management has been in place throughout the reporting year and significant activity by the Board and senior management has focused on ensuring that the approach is robust, fit for purpose and responsive to the tax authority's operational needs. The approach has been designed to manage risk to a reasonable level rather than to eliminate all risk. As a dynamic approach, this also allows the organisation to map uncertainty where it exists and address that as a component of risk management and therefore monitor this routinely, or look to address it through specific business activities which ties to team and organisational performance management structures more closely.
Corporate risks are expressed in terms of the risks to the strategic objectives set out in the Corporate Plan. Revenue Scotland also regularly monitors risk in relation to performance against the KPIs which measure delivery of the Corporate Plan, and in relation to the Annual Business Plan, which sets out the key priorities each year. Performance reports include an assessment of operational risks and mitigating actions.
The Corporate Risks as they stood at 31 March 2020 were as follows, and have been actively managed throughout the year by risk managers and risk owners with oversight from senior management, the ARC and the Board.
- Legislative and regulatory framework for Devolved Taxes
- Resourcing and Capability Development
- Digital Technology
- Cyber Security
- Management of Business Critical Relationships
- Risks associated with Governance and Compliance
- Insufficient Funding
- Failure to provide quality authoritative data
- Failure to deliver LEAP Programme objectives
- Stakeholder engagement
The Corporate Risk Register was reviewed in 2019-20 and engagement was carried out with the Audit and Risk Committee, the Senior Leadership Team and Risk Managers. A refreshed set of risks was latterly considered by ARC and agreed by the Board later in 2020. Both the ARC and the Board are satisfied that risk is managed appropriately.
In addition, as the organisation responded to the emerging health crisis brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, a further comprehensive review of the organisation's risks was undertaken. This exercise identified those direct operational and existential risks faced by Revenue Scotland as the operating model moved rapidly from being office based to fully remote and therefore digital. The review informed the approach we took to the decisions that required to be made to ensure operations could continue and also formed part of the consideration of the Corporate Risk Register referred to above.
Equality, diversity and human rights
This year Revenue Scotland developed a new set of equality outcomes and associated action plan. This included an equality theme for the Staff conference in October and a public consultation on the proposed equality outcomes. The action plan is designed with mainstreaming in mind and delivery of the plan will happen through equalities components of projects and programmes across the office.
The equality mainstreaming report was published in April 2020 and includes the following outcomes:
- Equality Outcome 1 - Revenue Scotland will design and deliver public services that meet the diverse needs of its users.
- Equality Outcome 2 - Revenue Scotland has an increasingly diverse workforce that fully embraces equality, diversity and respect for all.
Equality Mainstreaming will remain as a strategic project with oversight of activity across other projects. In particular this will be seeking to improve the use of Equality Impact Assessments across Revenue Scotland to ensure that equality is embedded in everything that we do.
Revenue Scotland is committed to acting at all times in a way which respects and is compatible with the rights guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. Revenue Scotland has published guidance on taxpayers' rights with regards to penalties under Article 6 of the Convention.
Staff at Revenue Scotland are civil servants who adhere to the Civil Service Code of Conduct. Staff are expected to carry out their duties with a commitment to the Civil Service core values of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality. Staff must not misuse their official position to further their private interests or those of others; accept gifts, hospitality or other benefits from anyone which might reasonably be seen to compromise their personal judgement or integrity. All staff undertake annual mandatory training on Counter Fraud, Bribery and Corruption to remind them of their responsibilities in these areas.
Revenue Scotland is committed to protecting the environment by working sustainably to minimise its carbon emissions, meet climate change duties and embed climate change action into the organisational culture.
As part of this commitment, Revenue Scotland has three broad climate change objectives. These are:
- to manage and monitor business travel and encourage staff to use the most carbon-efficient method of transport for all work-related travel;
- to minimise waste and reduce Revenue Scotland's paper use, including through encouraging online tax returns; and
- to reduce office energy consumption.
The Revenue Scotland Board is responsible for the scrutiny of environmental policies, strategies and compliance with climate change duties. Revenue Scotland contributes to the Scottish Public Sector Bodies' Climate Change Report annually. Revenue Scotland is based in the Scottish Government's Victoria Quay building in Edinburgh which means that the majority of its environmental impacts (e.g. heating, lighting, equipment and water) are monitored and included in the Scottish Government's annual climate change report.
Records Management and GDPR
The Revenue Scotland Records Management Plan was approved by National Records of Scotland in 2019-20. Through the year the focus has been on the implementation of the plan, including development of training and better defining roles and responsibilities. We also continued to work towards our digital ambition, rolling out improved digital file sharing capability with partners such as SEPA and with Board members. These improvements have proved crucial in supporting the move to remote working due to COVID-19.
Revenue Scotland has a whistleblowing policy and procedures in place to ensure that issues can be raised. During the reporting period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, Revenue Scotland received no whistleblowing disclosures (see the table below):
|Category||Number of disclosures|
|Number of non-qualifying disclosures||0|
|Number of qualifying disclosures||0|
|Number of qualifying disclosures requiring no further action||0|
|Number of qualifying disclosures requiring further action||0|
No investigations were carried out in this reporting period.
No actions were required during this investigations period.
No improvement objectives were required during this investigations period.
Elaine Lorimer – Chief Executive of Revenue Scotland and Accountable Officer