This overview provides a concise summary of Revenue Scotland’s purpose and objectives, along with a detailed account of its budget and performance for the year. The report outlines the key risks that were identified and managed in the achievement of those objectives. In the Performance Analysis section, included in the report on page 29, there is a comprehensive elaboration on these topics
The performance report begins with a brief summary of our performance, followed by an in-depth analysis section that assesses our progress in relation to the strategic outcomes outlined in our Corporate Plan 2021-24.
Who we are and what we do
Revenue Scotland was established under the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 (RSTPA). It is responsible for the collection and management of the fully devolved Scottish taxes: 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 accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament, ensuring the impartial and fair administration of taxes. The Scottish Government is responsible for tax policy and rates, while Revenue Scotland provides policy development support through the provision of advice, data, and information based on its operational experience.
Revenue Scotland works alongside the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC), which is responsible for providing independent forecasts of tax revenue in line with the Fiscal Framework. To aid forecasting work, Revenue Scotland provides anonymous, aggregated SLfT and LBTT data to the SFC.
In addition to delegating specific functions for SLfT collection to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Revenue Scotland also collaborates with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for compliance activity and participates in the British Isles Tax Authorities Forum, working closely with other tax authorities to share knowledge and best practices in tax collection and management.
How we are governed
The Board is responsible for the strategic direction, oversight, and governance of the organisation. It currently comprises seven members appointed by Scottish Ministers through the Scottish Public Appointments process. 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 (ARC) and the Staffing and Equalities Committee (SEC), which provide direction, support and detailed scrutiny of key areas of work and report on these to the Board. The Chief Executive 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 can be found in the Accountability Report section of the Annual Report.
How we are structured
The Senior Leadership Team is led by the Chief Executive and includes the Head of Tax, the Head of Corporate Functions, and the Head of Legal Services. These positions report directly to the Chief Executive and are responsible for the operational leadership, directing, and coordinating the delivery of Revenue Scotland’s strategic objectives. The organisational and team structure of Revenue Scotland is depicted in the diagram on the following page, providing a visual representation of the Senior Leadership Team’s role within the organisation.
How we are funded
Revenue Scotland is part of the Scottish Administration and its budget is set by the annual Budget Bill. The Scottish Government liaises with Revenue Scotland to identify its budgetary requirements which are then reflected in the Budget Bill that Ministers present to the Scottish Parliament. Where additional funding for major programmes is required, 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 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
The Corporate Plan 2021-24 outlines our purpose, vision, strategic outcomes and performance measures. These determine our priorities to ensure we continue our work in raising revenue to support public services across Scotland in the most efficient and effective way.
To efficiently and effectively collect and manage the devolved taxes which fund public services for the benefit of the people of Scotland.
We are a trusted and valued partner in the delivery of revenue services, informed by our data, digital by design, with a high-performing and engaged workforce.
Corporate Plan 2021-24 strategic outcomes
After eight successful years in operation, we have solidified our position as a leading and respected figure within Scotland’s tax and public sector landscapes.
Our Corporate Plan for 2021-24 is centred around four key strategic outcomes, as outlined below. These guide our efforts in achieving our strategic objectives, ensuring continued progress and adding value to the services we provide. Building on our impressive track record, which includes collecting nearly £6 billion in revenue since 2015, our plan charts the course for even greater success in the coming years.
Excelling in Delivery
We offer user-focused services that are digital by design, and provide value for money, convenience and ease of use for internal and external users.
Investing in our People
We are high-performing, outward looking and diverse, and provide a great place to work as an employer of choice. Our staff are motivated and engaged, and we invest in their development and health, safety and wellbeing.
We are accessible, collaborative and transparent, keen to learn from others and to share our experiences and expertise.
We plan and deliver change and new responsibilities flexibly, on time and within budget. We have a digital mindset, maximising the use of our data and harnessing new technology to improve our working practices and services.
How we deliver our purpose and measure our success
Our purpose is delivered through the strategic outcomes outlined in the Corporate Plan. Performance is rigorously measured through the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) as set out in the Plan, and against the delivery of milestones related to the objectives of key projects. Our organisation has a Business Plan outlining projects and cross-cutting pieces of work which facilitate the achievement of strategic outcomes in the Corporate Plan, while also informing team plans and personal work objectives. This structure creates a clear line of sight between the work objectives of each staff member and the strategic outcomes set out in the Corporate Plan. Our structured approach to performance management supports how the organisation monitors and records progress across the business.
National Performance Framework
The National Performance Framework (NPF) serves as the cornerstone for the Scottish Government’s overall purpose and vision for Scotland, outlining National Outcomes to gauge progress towards achieving its broad goals. Our Corporate Plan 2021-24 aligns with and prominently features these National Outcomes, strategically directing and prioritising all organisational efforts towards realising those relevant to Revenue Scotland’s remit.
To ensure successful delivery of the Corporate Plan, we define objectives and deliverables. These are translated into action through a comprehensive strategic framework of corporate strategies, business plans, and team plans. We have robust performance reporting processes in place, monitoring progress against objectives on a monthly and quarterly basis. We also indirectly contribute to all National Outcomes by collecting devolved tax revenues which fund Scottish public services. The organisation particularly contributes to six of the National Outcomes: economy, environment, fair work and business, communities, human rights, and health. We support these areas through investment in staff, a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, collaboration with partners, stakeholders and taxpayers, and operating in an open, transparent, and accountable manner. Scottish Landfill Tax, in particular, functions as an environmental fiscal measure and promotes the circular economy. In this way, we make an essential contribution to the environmental National Outcome of the NPF. During the 2022-23 fiscal year, we began work on the proposed Scottish Aggregates Tax, further supporting the organisation’s contribution to the environmental ambitions set out in the NPF. The Scottish Aggregates Tax, which will replace the UK Aggregates Levy in Scotland, is an environmental tax levied on sand, gravel, and crushed rock extracted in Scotland, encouraging the sustainable use of Scotland’s natural resources.
The following table shows which Revenue Scotland strategic outcomes are relevant to the various National Outcomes.
|Excelling in Delivery
|Investing in our people
|We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential
|We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
|We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are 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
We managed a range of risks and issues during 2022-23. Our Board remained informed throughout the process, closely scrutinising and monitoring the management of these risks and issues. A detailed review of the Corporate Risk register and all of the risks within it was undertaken jointly between staff, members of the Board and the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee in August 2022.
Cyber security is a critical risk which affects all organisations in today’s digital age. We are acutely aware of the threats that exist and have proactively taken measures to mitigate against these risks. These include:
- implementing robust security protocols
- providing training to employees on cyber security best practices
- developing a non-SCOTS device use policy for members of the Board
- conducting regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify and address any weaknesses in our systems and processes
- ensuring all third party supplier security credentials are up to date, specifically in relation to Cyber Essential Plus and relevant ISO certifications.
We recognise the importance of data in driving informed decision-making and ensuring we deliver effective services to taxpayers. We are developing data and digital strategies and strengthening our data governance framework to ensure we are collecting, storing and using data in a responsible and ethical manner. This includes ensuring we are complying with relevant data protection law, implementing data security measures, and leveraging technology to optimise our data management processes. We have also undertaken a data maturity assessment to understand where we are currently, and how much further we need to go to meet our aspirations.
Our organisation responded to three business continuity events over the past year, testing the resilience of the organisation.
In each instance, we implemented contingency plans allowing us to maintain business processes and minimise disruption to our service users and stakeholders. The ability to respond to business continuity events is critical to our long-term success, and we are committed to continually reviewing our response plans to ensure we can effectively navigate any challenges that may arise.
As part of our commitment to continuous improvement and maintaining a robust risk management framework, we have conducted a thorough review of our assurance map. This assessment has highlighted specific areas where we aim to enhance our controls to further strengthen our risk mitigation measures.
The assurance map review process involved a comprehensive evaluation of our existing controls and their effectiveness in addressing potential risks across various business functions. While we have successfully implemented sound controls in many areas, we recognised the need to fortify our approach in certain key domains to ensure comprehensive risk coverage. Some initiatives to address issues and mitigate risks are included below.
To enhance the management of risks associated with digital system performance and adaptability, we upgraded our contact management system. This new system streamlines operations for call handlers, ensuring more efficient support for callers. Its advanced reporting capabilities provide valuable insights into frequently asked questions, guiding us in refining our guidance, website, and communications with taxpayers. For a comprehensive overview of our corporate risks, refer to page 48.
In 2022-23 we engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to develop our Enhanced Support Policy. The Policy aims to help service users who may need additional support. Help may include providing documentation in braille or large print, access to translation services, help to register a Power of Attorney and access to a video relay service for Deaf/BSL users.
The Enhanced Support Service launched on 3 April 2023. Improvements to the user journey for lease taxpayers were also made and included updates to our online portal and additional communication methods being trialled. Further enhancements are planned for 2023-24.
We continued with planning, resourcing and governance arrangements to support decision making in complex cases. Performance reports and updates covering these matters are regularly scrutinised by the Board and Senior Leadership Team.
Communications and stakeholder engagement
Over the past year, we have made significant strides in improving our communications and stakeholder engagement efforts. Stakeholder engagement is critical to our reputation, building trust, managing risk and achieving our strategic outcomes.
We held a stakeholder roundtable event in January 2023, to inform the development of our Stakeholder Engagement Strategy. This brought together representatives from some of our key external stakeholder groups to discuss their expectations, concerns, and feedback. The discussion provided valuable insights into the needs and priorities of our stakeholders and helped us to identify areas where we could further strengthen and target our engagement efforts.
We have implemented a range of other initiatives to improve our communications with stakeholders. This includes regular updates on our activities and performance through our website and social media channels, as well as targeted communications to specific stakeholder groups.
We have also established feedback mechanisms to ensure we receive and respond to stakeholder feedback in a timely and effective manner. This includes regular surveys, focus groups, and other forms of engagement to solicit feedback on our activities and performance.
We recognise the importance of keeping up to date with relevant legislation and adapting our approach as necessary to ensure compliance. There will be several upcoming legislative changes that will affect our remit and operations, and over the year we took proactive measures to ensure we respond appropriately.
Our staff maintain an overview of legislation developments in areas relevant to them or to Revenue Scotland generally. For instance, Corporate Services teams keep up with developments in relation to data protection, procurement and equalities, diversity and inclusion. Tax and legal colleagues stay informed about developments in tax processes from other tax authorities and comparable tax systems. Over the year we liaised with the Scottish Government in relation to amendments to subordinate legislation relevant to SLfT.
Staff capacity and capability
Our staff are our most valuable asset, and we are committed to ensuring we manage their capacity and capability effectively. This includes ensuring we have the right people in the right roles, with the necessary skills and experience to deliver our strategic objectives.
Our People Services team are responsible for managing our staffing levels and supporting the Senior Leadership Team in our strategic work force planning to ensure we have the necessary resources and capabilities to meet our objectives. This team conducts regular reviews of our staffing levels and works closely with managers to identify any areas where additional capacity or capability is required. Our processes and systems include:
- conducting regular performance reviews and training needs assessments to identify any areas where staff require additional support or development
- identifying high-potential staff using our talent management programme, which helps us to provide employees with opportunities for development and career progression
- conducting regular strategic workforce planning sessions.
Delivering legislative change
In December 2022 we implemented a change announced in the Scottish Budget for the Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS). The change resulted in the ADS rate of 4% rising to 6%. The revised rate applies to contracts entered into on or after 16 December 2022.
We have been actively collaborating with Scottish Government Policy colleagues in the design and implementation of legislative change. Our collaboration involved two consultations in 2022-23 on the ADS and a relief from LBTT for transactions occurring in Green Freeport areas. We also liaised with the Scottish Government on the introduction of the Scottish Landfill tax (Prescribed Landfill Site Activities) Amendment Order 2022. Additionally, we started a review of the legislation we are responsible for administering, building on our eight years of operational experience. This involvement will continue into 2023-24.
Rates for residential and non-residential LBTT remain unchanged. The Scottish Budget 2022- 23 also confirmed, and we implemented, an increase in SLfT rates from 1 April 2022, as follows:
|Standard rate per tonne
|Lower rate per tonne
We strive to minimise the scope for tax disputes to arise. We do so by proactively providing services supporting the taxpayer to pay the right amount of tax at the right time. These include high quality guidance, the opinion service, support desk, direct contact with caseworkers and upholding our Charter of Standards and Values. If a dispute emerges, we strive to find areas of agreement. In instances where agreement cannot be reached litigation may ensue in the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Tax Chamber) (FTTS). In that forum we co-operate with the FTTS in fulfilling its overriding objective to deal with cases fairly and justly.
During 2022-23 we participated in five tribunal hearings, of which three were LBTT appeals and two were SLfT appeals. One SLfT hearing was heard by the Upper Tribunal. One LBTT hearing and two SLfT hearings were conducted virtually. The remaining two hearings were held in person.
Electronic submission of documents to the Tribunals has become routine for both virtual and in-person hearings. We welcomed this improvement for ease of access and alignment with our ambitions to be digitally enabled. The technology and arrangements for virtual hearings has worked well and we welcome the availability of an alternative format. There is a mix of factors bearing on which format is appropriate in any particular case and we are supportive of legal developments in this area. Disputes can indicate where the devolved tax system could be improved. In recognition of this, we routinely reflect on and implement continuous improvement during and on conclusion of disputes.
Since Revenue Scotland was established in 2015, we have been collecting data in relation to litigation. Trends consistently show higher volumes of LBTT appeals compared to SLfT appeals. Further information on appeals in 2022-23 is available on page 34.
Future Operating Model
During 2022-23 we continued to pilot hybrid working. Our hybrid working model sought to deliver excellent customer service while also considering the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, the performance of our statutory functions, delivering value for money, future scalability, and alignment to our strategic aims (including diversity and green recovery). Our hybrid working model was designed to offer staff flexibility whilst ensuring business needs were met. To achieve this we adopted a persona-based model to provide clarity and define the purpose of the office. In preparation for our pilot we developed a hybrid handbook, a duty manager guide, and defined our evaluation criteria. Adopting an evidence based approach was our priority. The hybrid pilot commenced in September 2021 and was introduced in two phases. The second phase commenced in April 2022 and enabled all staff to interact with the office with a purpose.
We committed to piloting an evidencebased hybrid model, which would be subject to evaluation to ensure it was achieving key outcomes. A range of quantitative and qualitative data was identified and used throughout the pilot to score the evaluation themes and improve aspects of hybrid working if needed. This data was independently evaluated by Internal Audit in a report at the end of the pilot period.
During the pilot, various Pulse Surveys of staff were taken. These covered areas such as first day experience, duty manager experience and employee one-to-one consultations. Results from the Pulse and People Surveys indicated staff preferred the hybrid model, and it had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
Measures of performance showed we performed well over the period of the pilot, and staff have also reported they are connected as one organisation and are more productive. Outcomes from the KPIs show we have continued to meet or exceed operational requirements during the hybrid pilot, whilst providing a high level of customer service. All KPIs are reported as on track for 2022-23.
In order to optimise the employee experience and the green recovery, we began the pilot introduction of a Glasgow hub in June 2022. This allows staff to collaborate and attend an office nearer their home location. The evaluation of this pilot will continue into 2023-24. We have also purchased a cloudbased desk and room booking system to provide quantitative data on office attendance.
The pilot concluded in March 2023. A report recommending we adopt a hybrid working model was presented to our Senior Leadership Team and our Board for approval in May 2023. The proposed operating model was approved.
As the Scottish Government continues its journey towards defining its future working model, we are actively engaging by sharing our experiences and lessons learned to support their decision-making process.
Our Business Plan includes key strategic projects for 2022-23. These represent a significant investment and/or which are of strategic importance to the organisation and contribute to the delivery of the Corporate Plan. At the end of 2022-23, most projects remained on track or were completed.
|Project and scope
1. Scottish Aggregates Tax Programme
To implement Scotland’s next devolved tax.
|The introduction of Scottish Aggregates Tax remains on track with the programme schedule. We continue to work closely with partners and stakeholders in preparation for the launch of the tax.
2. Legislative Framework Project
To begin a process of analysis and research to support legislative change, aimed at delivering a world-class, leading tax authority for the people of Scotland.
|The initial stages of proposed legislative change have been shared with some partners and stakeholders. As well as this, changes to the ADS and the introduction of an LBTT relief for Green Freeports are underway.
3. Capital Investment in SETS
To deliver ongoing investment and improvements to the Scottish Electronic Tax System (SETS).
|Progress continues to be made to deliver improvements to the SETS system. Five major releases were successfully deployed throughout 2022-23.
4. DataMaturity Assessment
To gather, assess and analyse Revenue Scotland’s data literacy and capability.
|The assessment results have been analysed and proposals have being drafted to improve our data capability.
5. RS Futures Project
To run and evaluate a hybrid working pilot within Revenue Scotland, exploring a mixture of work and office working and the effect on staff productivity, performance and wellbeing.
The pilot has been completed and undergone evaluation.
Hybrid working has been approved as the operating model for us going forward.
6. Leadership Programme
To deliver a leadership development programme for staff within Revenue Scotland.
Delivery of the programme is nearing completion.
7. Three-yearly Lease Reviews
To drive an increase in quality and quantity of received lease returns in Revenue Scotland.
|The ‘occupier letter’ trial improved engagement and has been permanently embedded. Upcoming lease return changes aim for fewer errors and better data quality.
8. Develop and implement a stakeholder engagement programme
To undertake the delivery and implementation of a specific stakeholder engagement programme.
Initial consultation with key external stakeholders has begun. Progression remains on track for completion.
9. Test and develop new system of service user feedback mechanisms
To evaluate new systems and methods of receiving service user feedback across Revenue Scotland.
|Development of KPI 7, user feedback agreed. A new feedback mechanism via the SETS platform remains open and future progress remains on track
10. Procurement: Contact Management System
To procure a replacement contact management system for Revenue Scotland.
The new contact management system was successfully procured and launched in September 2022.
11.Procurement: Tax Finance Portal
To procure a new tax finance system for Revenue Scotland.
|The new tax finance system was successfully procured and launched in November 2022.
The Corporate Plan 2021-24 includes 10 key performance indicators (KPIs) which demonstrate our performance against the plan and towards our targets.
Full details relating to each KPI and target can be found in the Performance Analysis section of this Annual Report and page numbers are provided in the table.
The KPIs demonstrate our operational performance and response to organisational changes. Our strong performance was maintained through the COVID-19 pandemic and during our transition to hybrid working since 2021-22.
New KPIs were introduced in the Corporate Plan to monitor our performance across a broader range of our activities. Our KPIs are set against new strategic objectives, including work relating to equalities mainstreaming, service user feedback, and progress towards becoming a greener organisation. Previous KPIs were also updated to reflect our performance more accurately against key areas. For these reasons comparison to previous years is not always available:
|Tax collection rate: percentage of tax declared which has been collected
|Not less than 99%
|Response to user requests
Composite of calls, written correspondence and time to process claims for repayment of tax.
Green – >95%
Amber – <95%>90%
Red – <90%
|Tax secured through Revenue Scotland’s compliance activity
|Compared to previous year’s compliance activity, no formal target set
|Administrative cost of tax collection
|Skills and knowledge development
|>90% of staff having completed 30 hours (pro rata) learning and development
People Survey Engagement and Stress Proxy Index
|Combined score to be within the top 25% of Civil Service organisations. A low combined score is desirable
|Combined score of 12, within the top 25%
Combined score of 33
Service users’ feedback1
Service User satisfaction score
Agreed in Feb 2023,
live from Apr 2023, ready to deploy
|RAG status applied based on progress against Equalities Mainstreaming action plan
|Delivery of key strategic projects
|Combined RAG status of 10 key strategic projects
1.Throughout 2021-2022 and 2022-23 Revenue Scotland gathered service user feedback via the online tax collection system SETS; this will continue during 2023-2024 and form part of the larger KPI around service user feedback. For more information, see page 40.
2.During 2022-23, the Board agreed that KPI 9 was to be set aside, to focus on delivering green objectives. The difficulties in reporting these due to varying criteria, necessitated the removal of the KPI.
The figures given below are the final budget (revenue and capital) after adjustment in the Spring Budget review.
|Net Expenditure against Resource Budget
|Financial year 2022-23 expenditure
|Financial year 2021-22 expenditure
|Expenditure against Capital Budget (Note 5 of Financial Statements)
|Financial year 2022-23 expenditure
|Financial year 2021-22 expenditure
In 2022-23 revenue expenditure was £112,000 (2%) less than budget, and capital expenditure was £34,000 (5%) less than budget. Savings occurred in many areas as a result of the pilot in hybrid working. In addition, outcomes from litigation and resolving disputes resulted in savings in legal costs compared to the budget. Development of SETS remains a priority for us, with ongoing expenditure planned over the length of the current contract.
In 2022-23 we spent £0 (2021-22: £67,000) on costs associated with our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These were:
In 2021-22 expenditure related to minor IT hardware and expenditure incurred with management consultants to assess a range of operating models prior to running the pilot.
|Revenue net of repayment, excluding interest payable and revenue losses
Tax, penalties and interest receivable
Budget Act estimates
Tax, penalties and interest receivable
|Penalties and interest
The values in the above table are for tax returns and amendments submitted during 2022-23. They are adjusted for the value of LBTT and SLfT returns received during April and May 2023, which relate to the period up to March 2023.
The tax returns submitted during 2022-23 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 2022-23 is dependent on performance of both the residential and non-residential property markets within Scotland.
The SLfT revenue raised in 2022-23 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 (SFC). The SFC publishes forecast evaluation reports comparing outturn figures to Budget Act estimates, detailing the reasons for any differences observed.
The housing market continued to recover in 2022-23 from the pandemic. A summary of the tax revenue and our resource spend over the period 2018-23 is shown on pages 106-109 and this forms part of our Performance Report.
Further information on the collection of the devolved taxes is given in the Annual Report and Accounts for the Devolved Taxes for 2022-23, which is published separately.
Performance against the Revenue Scotland Corporate Plan
The Performance Analysis section serves as a detailed and comprehensive dissection of our Corporate Plan 2021-24. Its primary goal is to illuminate the objectives we’ve set to accomplish our four strategic outcomes. Within this section, we explore our ten key performance indicators (KPIs) and how they relate to each strategic objective. Throughout the Performance Analysis section, a meticulous evaluation of our performance in relation to each strategic objective and its respective KPIs takes place.
Central to our operations is the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 (RSTPA), which forms the bedrock of our legal framework. This legislation plays a pivotal role in guiding our endeavours and shaping our operational landscape. Additionally, for a concise overview of KPI outcomes, readers can refer to the performance summary provided on pages 24-25.
Excelling in Delivery
We seek to offer user-focused services that are digital by design and provide value for money, convenience and ease of use for internal and external users. To achieve this, we have the following objectives
- use technology, data and innovation to develop and enhance our tax collection systems and guidance
- adopt continuous improvement processes to make our services more effective and easier to use
- use our statutory powers appropriately to help taxpayers get to the right tax position
- seek to resolve disputes and pursue non-compliance by using our powers proportionately
- develop options for measuring and addressing tax receipt shortfall
- design and deliver systems that are compliant, reliable, efficient and cost effective
- undertake effective management of assets through their lifecycle
- exemplify best practice in the ways we hold and manage data
- use our expertise in collecting devolved taxes to help shape the development of tax policy and legislation
- design and deliver public services that meet the diverse needs of our users
- include environmental impact as a key principle in our service delivery model
- meet our obligations as a public body and embed the management and mitigation of risk in our planning activities and operations
The following section, starting with Tax Revenue, details our journey towards “Excelling in Delivery” and achieving this strategic outcome. This section explains how we have connected our strategic outcomes to our KPIs and provides a picture of what we’ve accomplished and how it ties into our overall success as a modern public body.
|Penalties and interest
Tax revenues were at a record high in 2022-23, and 3% higher than 2021-22 which had been affected by the pandemic. Residential LBTT revenues declared were the highest seen in a financial year, driven by increasing house prices. Non-residential LBTT revenues decreased compared to 2021-22 but remained higher than in previous years. Last year saw the second lowest volumes of waste going to landfill in a year, since SLfT was devolved, after the pandemic affected 2020-21. SLfT Revenues declared in 2022-23 were also the second lowest after 2020-21, as the decreases in waste were counteracted by the increases in taxation rates each year.
Several of our KPIs monitor performance of our strategic outcome “Excelling in Delivery”.
According to KPI 1, our tax collection rate for 2022-23 stood at 99%, consistent with the benchmarks set in 2017-18 and 2021-22.
Our service efficiency is evident in KPI 4, which highlights the minimal administrative cost of tax collection. For 2022-23, the collection cost was less than 1%, meeting our set benchmark.
The SLfT team has maintained and refined the risk-based compliance approach introduced last year, focusing on quarterly returns and deepening our understanding of the landfill industry and its operators in Scotland. After a pause during the pandemic, our SEPA-designated officers have resumed on-site landfill assessments to evaluate operational risks. In 2023-24, our officers plan to join SEPA officers during these site visits.
Guidance, advice and support
The service we provide to taxpayers is of crucial importance to our core purpose. Our KPI 2 is a composite measure of response times to different service user requests, including calls, written correspondence, and time to process claims for repayment of tax. Throughout 2022-23 we constantly maintained our target of 95%.
We are continuing to explore opportunities to enhance our service offering. Based on quantitative and qualitative user research and engagement workshops that took place in 2022-23, work is underway to make improvements to our online portal for agents.
In 2022-23 we updated multiple sections of our online LBTT guidance after seeking views from stakeholders ahead of publication. To inform our changes, we considered user feedback, litigation decisions, website traffic (using Google Analytics) and areas subject to legislative change. A 2023-24 guidance project plan is now in place for further pages to be updated.
Following the success of the LBTT guidance overhaul, we are now focusing on a similar review of the SLfT guidance to provide a clearer support for the landfill industry.
Capital Investment Programme
Our Capital Investment Programme is aligned with, and delivers, the digital and data priorities set out in our Corporate Plan. Working closely with our suppliers, in 2022-23, the programme delivered a digital programme focusing on four key areas of activity:
i. enhancements to our online tax system (SETS) that would improve our processes and make the management of devolved taxes in Scotland easier and more efficient
ii. the replacement of our legacy contact management solution with a more modern and fit for purpose cloudbased system that better meets our needs, particularly in a hybrid working environment
iii. updating our finance system to the latest version in support of future use cases
iv. refreshing our IT hardware where needed to ensure our staff have the appropriate equipment to undertake their roles.
Governance for the programme is provided by the Capital Investment Programme Board, which includes external representation from the Scottish Government. The Programme Board oversees the work of the programme team to monitor and report progress, manage programme risks and finances, and agree any changes to programme plans as required.
Revenue Scotland’s core function is the collection and management of the devolved taxes. In other words, we have a duty to protect and ensure the correct amount of revenues are collected. As highlighted above under ‘guidance, advice and support’, we do this by 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, as set out in our Compliance Strategy, has three key elements:
- Enabling – We help taxpayers to understand and comply with their tax obligations through the services we provide. This includes the publication of clear, informative guidance; a userfriendly online system; our support desk; providing tax opinions; and engaging with and upskilling stakeholders, for example, by presenting technical webinars.
- Assurance – Using our statutory powers appropriately to help taxpayers to get to the right tax position. This includes checking returns to ensure they are complete, accurate and highlight any errors; carrying out landfill inspections; sharing intelligence with other tax authorities; and the use of investigatory powers, statutory enquiries and assessments.
- Resolution – We seek to resolve disputes and pursue non-compliance by using our powers proportionately and applying penalties where required.
We work in close collaboration with other UK tax authorities, sharing information, intelligence and knowledge with HMRC and the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA). We do this within the legal gateways in the RSTPA and through our Information Sharing Agreements. In addition, as part of a broad approach to compliance, we discuss areas of potential legislative change in partnership with Scottish Government policy colleagues.
We also regularly meet with bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), the Association of Tax Technicians (ATT), the Law Society of Scotland (LSS), and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), as well as other industry bodies.
We continue to develop a more strategic, data-led approach to our compliance activities. This ensures our resource is targeted toward the most significant tax risks. The benefits of this approach are reflected in the 2022-23 compliance activity results.
As measured under KPI 3, tax secured through our compliance activity was £10.4m in 2022-23, compared to £721k in 2021-22. The results reflect activity over a number of years which reached a conclusion during 2022-23 but doesn’t include upstream compliance activity, such as improving guidance to assist taxpayers to comply with their obligations.
There are three main routes for taxpayers, agents and other members of the public who wish to dispute an action or decision by us, 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 us 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. Our complaints handling procedure seeks to resolve taxpayer dissatisfaction as close as possible to the point of service delivery. It aims to conduct thorough and impartial investigations of complaints, so 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 (response target timescale – 10 days or less)
- Stage 2 – investigation (response target timescale – 20 days or less).
|No. of complaints received
|Resolved within target timescales
|No. of complaints received
|Resolved within target timescales
Tax disputes – reviews and appeals
We aim 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 Tax Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (FTTS).
Taxpayers and their agents have the right to request us to review any decision which 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. We must notify the taxpayers or their agents of our view of the matter within 30 days from the day on which we received the review request (or such longer period as reasonable). For the next stage we must inform the taxpayers or their agents of its conclusion of the review and its reasoning within 45 days of sending the Stage 1 response.
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 FTTS decides appeals against Revenue Scotland decisions, and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland (UTS) decides appeals on a point of law from decisions of the FTTS.
|Number of cases at 1 April
|New cases initiated
at 31 March
During 2022-23, eleven appeals were initiated in the FTTS, one in the UTS and one in the Court of Session. The Court of Session appeal concluded without requiring further judicial process. Some of the appeals related to the same facts and issues.
Investing in our people
The second strategic outcome in our Corporate Plan 2021-24 – Investing in our People, reflects our ambition to be a high-performing, outward-looking and diverse organisation, providing a great place to work. The organisation places high value on staff motivation and engagement and we invest in our employee learning and development, and health, safety and wellbeing. This enables us to develop and support a highly skilled workforce that upholds the required standards of professionalism and integrity.
The seven strategic objectives are:
- ensure our staff have the capability, skills and knowledge to deliver an excellent service
- ensure our staff have the skills and tools required to efficiently access and analyse our data to better inform decision making
- take action to expand the diversity of our workforce and promote access to employment for those with protected characteristics
- be a trusted, valued and respected tax authority which prioritises staff capability, skills and knowledge development
- be a high-performing organisation where staff feel trusted, valued, motivated and empowered. This helps us to create a culture with work/life balance, health, safety, wellbeing and resilience at the heart
- enhance our use of data to inform our capability and capacity requirements for the delivery of our organisational objectives
- support individuals to have flexible choices on where and when they work
Our People Strategy 2021-24 has direct links to the Corporate Plan and clear deliverable actions set out in the action plan. Progress against the action plan is reported to our Staffing and Equalities Committee throughout the year. Our People Strategy is underpinned by four themes. These are wide-ranging and ambitious, reflecting our commitment to being an inclusive and agile workforce:
In 2022–23 we enhanced the Shared Service agreement with Scottish Government People Directorate. Our people advice and wellbeing provision is now delivered in-house through a small team of HR professionals, who support staff and managers with an ethos of early intervention and prevention.
In addition, we seek to use our data to inform our capability and capacity for the delivery of our objectives whilst providing support and flexibility to staff about how, when and where they work.
The delivery of this strategic outcome is primarily assessed by gauging our organisation’s performance against KPI 5. This indicator quantifies skills and knowledge development time, showcasing our dedication to nurturing our workforce and fostering competence. Additionally, KPI 6 plays a crucial role, evaluating both the People Survey Engagement Index and the Proxy Stress Index. These metrics collectively underscore our commitment to ensuring employee well-being, engagement, and overall organisational health.
KPI 5 achieved 96% of staff completing at least 30 hours of learning and development against a target of 90%. KPI 6 achieved a combined performance score of 12, which places our organisation in the upper quartile of 25 or less.
Our commitments include taking action to improve the diversity of our workforce and removing barriers to employment in line with our equalities action plan. Following a campaign to improve our diversity declaration rates, our diversity data is now largely representative of Scottish working age population. We continue to improve our inclusive recruitment practice, all staff engaged in recruitment must undertake inclusive recruitment training. We were the first department within Scottish Government main pay bargaining unit to adopt the Employee Passport. This was launched in partnership with Scottish Government in June 2022.
During 2022-23 we engaged staff in our diversity, and health and wellbeing calendar of events. This included celebrating National Inclusion Week and Diwali. With the support of external partners, we also engaged staff in wide range of health and wellbeing subjects. These ranged from financial wellbeing and menopause awareness, to testicular cancer awareness. At the beginning of 2022-23, we moved to the second phase of our hybrid pilot; this gave staff the flexibility to interact with the office. Employee engagement and connection within Revenue Scotland remained a noteworthy consideration throughout the year, aimed at enhancing our hybrid work environment. Various initiatives have been implemented to bolster these aspects, including:
- biannual in-person staff conferences engaging staff in future priorities and a hybrid operating model
- health and safety training
- Pulse Surveys
- staff guidance on hybrid working
- defined roles and individual personas to meet business needs and offer staff choice on workplace
- health and wellbeing activities.
Learning and development is a major focus in our People Strategy. We know that having a skilled team is crucial for our success. We’ve been consistent with our Scottish Tax Education Programme (STEP) and ensured that new team members get a solid foundation through the Induction Programme.
Our main goal has been to enhance our skills and the way we work together. The Professional Qualifications Policy has been a helpful addition, allowing our colleagues to pursue formal qualifications to excel in their roles. Alongside that, the leadership development program has given us opportunities to step up our leadership abilities together.
We’ve revamped our Induction program, now including in-person sessions to add a personal touch. In terms of learning, we’re offering both in-person and virtual options to cater to everyone’s preferences.
Our commitment to learning and growth is evident in the results of the Civil Service People Survey. More than 82% of us feel that the learning opportunities provided are valuable, and around 72% believe that these learning activities have a positive impact on our performance.
As our work setup continues to evolve, we’re still dedicated to staying united. We’ve been actively exploring how our role personas align with the office setup, and regular all-staff meetings are keeping everyone informed about the latest developments.
Over the past year, we’ve organised two in person staff conferences. These events have been great opportunities to come together as one team, discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion, and figure out effective strategies for our hybrid work model.
We strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to voice their opinions. The 2022 People Survey reports 92% of respondents understand our organisational objectives and how their work contributes to them.
Our 2022 People Survey4 results saw an increase compared to the 2021 Engagement Index to 69% from 65%. The index is comprised of five questions measuring pride, advocacy, attachment, inspiration, and motivation. The Proxy Stress Index decreased by an additional 1 percentage-point to reach 22%, with a low score being desirable. This index measures factors that cause stress rather than those that alleviate it. The index is based on the Health and Safety Executive stress management standards; demands, control over work, support, relationships, role in organisation and change.
Leading and managing change effectively is a priority for our leaders. Our People Survey results saw a 7 percentage-point increase across this theme, which is 24 percentage points higher than the Civil Service average score, placing our organisation as joint fourth highest across the 102 Civil Service organisations that took part in the survey. Our People Strategy action plan will continue to drive the areas for continued development identified from the People Survey.
We aim to build on our reputation as an accessible, collaborative and transparent public body. We are keen to learn from others and share our experience and expertise. To achieve this outcome, we have seven strategic objectives:
- engage users in the design of our services, maximising the opportunities of technology and drawing on best practice from other service delivery organisations
- help taxpayers to understanding and comply with their tax obligations through the services we provide
- engage regularly and effectively with users to keep them informed, content and productive, enabling them to work collaboratively
- effectively communicate data and analysis to our stakeholders and audiences. This includes the provision of high-quality data and advice to support the Scottish Fiscal Commission in its tax forecasting role and the Scottish Government in the development of tax policy
- in our communications, provide the audience with the right information in the right tone and style at the right time
- expand the reach of our engagement to diversify our stakeholder base and sharpen our understanding of equality issues, digital developments, and our operating environment.
- as a transparent and open organisation, listen to and engage collaboratively with our staff and our stakeholders
We have continued to engage with a wide range of stakeholders throughout 2022-23. This has involved:
- regularly meeting with Scottish Ministers and their officials, and providing advice based on our operational experience to support the development of policy and legislation
- providing data and information about the performance of the devolved taxes to the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) to support the independent forecast of Scottish tax revenue
- producing statistics on both devolved taxes which are published on the Revenue Scotland website
- engaging with other tax authorities on tax administration issues, as well as with other public bodies on a range of corporate issues, such as risk management, business planning and equalities and diversity
- participating in the Finance and Public Administration Committee’s roundtable discussion on the National Performance Framework.
We were delighted to develop relationships with the New Zealand Inland Revenue and Estonia’s Chief Technology Officer, both of whom generously gave their time to meet us virtually to share knowledge and experiences. Moreover, we were honoured to welcome a delegation from the Nepalese Government who had approached us to learn more about what we were doing in Scotland. The delegation was looking to meet with us to ask us about our experiences of devolution and setting up a new tax authority.
Service user feedback
We are committed to putting the users at the heart of our service. As part of this commitment, we have developed KPI 7, which aims to measure our ability to gather and use service user feedback. Towards the end of 2022-23, KPI 7 was finalised and agreed. Reporting of the KPI is due to begin for the financial year 2023-24 on a quarterly basis.
During the year, we received almost 2,000 pieces of feedback through a number of channels and engaged externally with various stakeholders. We use the feedback we receive to continually improve our service delivery, including our tax guidance on the website, tax return system (SETS), and processes as a result of specific feedback.
Our main priority for 2022-23 has been to better understand the performance of the tax return system (SETS) and how it can be improved. To achieve this, we have conducted a variety of research activities with our users and stakeholders, including:
- Surveys – We conducted a survey of SETS users to gather their feedback on the system’s usability, functionality, and overall satisfaction. This method offers a comprehensive view of user opinions and insights.
- User interviews – To gain a deeper understanding of user experiences with the SETS system, we carried out in-depth interviews with a small group of users. This allowed us to explore individual experiences, uncover specific pain points, and collect qualitative feedback that might not come to light in a survey.
- Usability testing – For the purpose of pinpointing specific areas for improvement within the SETS system, we engaged in usability testing. This involved hands-on interaction with a group of users in real-life scenarios. By observing their interactions, we could identify any obstacles or challenges, leading to improvements related to usability and user experience.
The feedback we received from these research activities has been invaluable in helping us to understand evolving user needs, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the system and enable co-design. The feedback and data collected from the research is actively used to direct change and implement improvements to our services going forward. We will continue to increase the methods and frequency of our service user engagement as laid out in our new Communications and Engagement Strategy.
We are committed to being an organisation with equality, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and belonging at its core, for both staff and for the people we serve. We continue to monitor our progress against achieving our actions as laid out in our Equalities Mainstreaming Progress Report via KPI 8, which we published at the end of 2021-22. This Report is supported by an Equalities Mainstreaming Action Plan, providing us with another means of mainstreaming the Public Sector Equalities Duty (PSED) into our organisation and demonstrates our readiness to be held to account in relation to it. The outcomes identified in the Equalities Mainstreaming Progress Report 2020-22 are:
- 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.
We have strived for excellence whilst delivering upon and embedding equalities, diversity and inclusion throughout our organisation. Additionally, we updated our equalities strategy to emphasise Equality Outcome 2, aiming for a diverse workforce that values equality, diversity, and respect, while also enhancing our data collection and usage methods.
In part due to our dedication and the significance we place upon EDI and belonging in Revenue Scotland, we began to look at improving our offerings and driving engagement in this area via a transformation exercise.
- We introduced several new groups, including our Equalities Steering Group, comprised of key stakeholders within RS and additional external stakeholders with significant experience of working in the equalities field.
- Secondly, we introduced our Equalities Working Group, comprised of passionate EDI leaders and figures from across all areas of our business, to act as a conduit for feedback and for the delivery of new strategic and significant EDI projects and priorities across Revenue Scotland.
- Finally, we launched our EDI Champions network, comprised of passionate individuals throughout Revenue Scotland who role model our behaviours, demonstrate our commitment to EDI on a daily basis and champion our values as an organisation.
We also delivered a number of key projects, which significantly contribute towards our goal of being increasingly, equal, diverse and inclusive.
- We formally launched our Enhanced Support Policy, which provides an enhanced level of support to those who need it most.
- We began to undertake an exercise to analyse and assess our ability to complete Equality Impact Assessments (EqIA).
- We proudly achieved Disability Confident Level 2 status in 2022. Revenue Scotland acknowledges there is still work to be done and we stand prepared and engaged to continue our EDI Journey.
The fourth strategic outcome in our Corporate Plan 2021-24, Looking Ahead, aims to plan and deliver change and improvements to our systems and processes flexibly, on time and on budget. To achieve our Looking Ahead outcome, we have seven strategic objectives:
- working with stakeholders, partner organisations and Scottish Government colleagues to use our expertise to design and deliver any new devolved taxes and other revenue raising measures
- work with others to identify opportunities for sharing IT platforms and management tools to support operational processes
- exploit the potential of Revenue Scotland’s data by linking to other data sources to deliver better policy outcomes
- include environmental impact as a consideration in the design and delivery of any now or changing responsibilities
- encourage staff to be active, engaged, responsible learners who own their learning and development
- actively plan ahead for our future workforce and capability needs
- ensure our communications are scalable and capable of being adapted to new responsibilities and audiences.
Our commitment to the environment and the integration of sustainable practices into our operations remain at the forefront of our strategic direction. We bolster our environmental stewardship by focusing on minimising emissions from our facilities, optimising waste reduction, enhancing reuse strategies, and advocating for ecofriendly travel methods for our business undertakings.
As part of our Green Strategy, this year marked the launch of our first-ever staff sustainability survey. This was aimed at understanding attitudes and behaviours related to commuting and remote work. Notably, the valuable data derived from this survey was utilised by external consultants in their independent evaluation of our hybrid work pilot. This invaluable external analysis, combined with our internal insights, will be instrumental in shaping our future work model.
A significant portion of our sustainability efforts is geared towards updating legislation to enhance digital interactions with taxpayers. This initiative aims to substantially cut down on paper waste and carbon emissions associated with postage, whilst reducing costs for taxpayers.
In anticipation of the Scottish Aggregates Tax, we have initiated strategic dialogues with the aggregates industry. Our goal is to work with the industry to enable us to formulate the most environmentally sound tax, with an emphasis on digital processing.
We further support Scotland’s climate change goals by collecting the Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT), which promotes alternative waste solutions and reduces hazardous waste impacting climate change. Overall, landfill waste has decreased since 2015. There was a minor increase in 2021-22, likely due to pandemic-related delays. However, in 2022-23 waste tonnage decreased to a lower level than before the pandemic. Collaborative efforts with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have generated over £109m in tax revenue in 2022-23.
The Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (SLCF), established in 2015, provides funding for community and environmental projects to mitigate landfill-related issues. We appointed SEPA as the regulator for the SLCF. To date, £60.7m has been contributed to the fund, with £7.4m in qualifying contributions this year. Contributions have been declining, likely due to a reduction in landfilling as the ban on biodegradable municipal waste approaches in January 2025.
As we prepare for the biodegradable municipal waste ban scheduled for 2025, we continue to foster close relationships with stakeholders in the Scottish landfill industry. This waste reduction initiative aligns with Scotland’s climate change and circular economy objectives. However, it will likely result in a decrease in SLfT revenue. This scenario presents potential tax risks emanating from factors such as waste misclassification, as well as increased scope for unauthorised waste disposal. To mitigate these risks, we have integrated them into our compliance plans and will persist in our collaboration with colleagues at SEPA to pre-emptively address any emerging challenges.
The Scottish Government launched an ADS review in 2021-22, including a call for evidence and a consultation. Changes to the ADS as an outcome of the review will involve legislative change and we will work closely with Scottish Government policy colleagues on implementing these in 2023-24.
Scottish Aggregates Tax
We have commenced work on Scotland’s third devolved tax, Scottish Aggregates Tax, and have established a dedicated programme to deliver the new devolved tax. We are working closely with Scottish Government colleagues as they develop the legislation which will underpin the new tax.
Engagement with the aggregates industry has been crucial to the development of the legislation. This has helped to better understand how the Scottish Aggregates Tax will achieve its policy aims, consult on key aspects, such as exemptions, reliefs and cross border arrangements and the effectiveness of the current UK levy.
A working group has been established and we play a key role in its workings. We will continue this close engagement as we move from the legislation phase into system development and delivery. In addition, we are engaging with colleagues in HMRC and wider Scottish Government to ensure a smooth transition to the operation of the new devolved tax.
Our programme will ensure our staff and service users are prepared for the introduction of the tax with all necessary internal changes planned and delivered. Guidance and communications will also be prepared and available ahead of the launch.
In support of a Digital First approach, we will further develop our SETS digital platform to enable online collection of the tax by default.
We have 10 outstanding strategic projects which remain priorities for 2023-24 and these will be monitored using KPI 10. These are as follows:
- Our futures project, which via our Hybrid Pilot has tested and evaluated our ability to work in a Hybrid manner and the effect of this on our offerings, performance and staff. The project was completed and recommendations approved by our Board in early 2023-24.
- We will support our staff through the delivery of Scottish Government’s HR Transformation Programme.
- As part of our People Strategy we will develop a capability matrix that measures our skills across our workforce and provides the required learning to build capabilities.
- We continue to work with our Scottish Government policy partners, industry representatives and others to realise the ambition to create legislation to enable devolution of the UK’s Aggregates Levy during the lifetime of this current parliament.
- We aim to have data and digital at the forefront of the design of the new tax.
- We will deliver an ongoing programme of legislative change to improve and diversify the offerings and abilities of Revenue Scotland as a service provider. This will enable us to become increasingly digital by design and ensure we remain a world-class tax authority.
- During 2022-23, we continued to enhance the three-year lease review processes. Improvements were made to our tax collection system (SETS) and further enhancements will be made during 2023-24. These changes are anticipated to reduce the likelihood of data input error and make the process of submitting a return smoother for both agents and taxpayers.
- Our Capital Investment Programme aims to make continuous improvement to the tax collection platform SETS alongside the range of digital services and technologies used across the organisation.
- To enhance our user experience we have expanded our use of service user feedback. This enables us to gain insights from our users and better target system and service improvements.
- Based on the progress we made in 2022-23 in understanding the priorities and needs of our stakeholders, we will enhance our engagement with external audiences and implement a programme of activities to maximise our impact. We will report progress on these objectives in our 2023-24 Annual Report.
Corporate Governance matters
We operate under an established Risk Management Framework, which aligns with the best practice guidance presented through the Scottish Public Finance Manual and Scottish Government’s Risk Management Guidance document.
The framework sets out the process for identifying and documenting risk, assigning ownership of risk, scoring risk, determining responses to risk and monitoring and reporting on progress in managing risk. A review of the framework has commenced to ensure it continues to meet our needs and will be completed during 2023-24.
To achieve our ambitions, strategic outcomes and objectives, as set out in our Corporate Plan, it is essential we understand, manage and communicate the range of threats and opportunities that could hinder or enhance the organisation.
We ensure risk is sufficiently scored and managed prior to taking action to mitigate it or to take opportunities resulting from it. Explicit reference to ‘risk appetite’ – the agreed amount of risk the organisation is willing to accept in pursuit of its objectives – allows us to adopt a common understanding across our organisation. It also provides a framework for risk owners and managers to confidently make risk based decisions.
The concept of ‘risk appetite’ is used to communicate the level of risk Revenue Scotland is willing to accept in pursuit of its corporate objectives and to inform its risk management procedures.
This allows issues that carry the highest risks to be prioritised.
Defining a corporate risk
Corporate risks are those of significant, cross-cutting, strategic importance that pose a potential threat to an organisation’s operations, financial performance, reputation, or strategic objectives. These risks may arise from a variety of sources, such as changes to the organisation’s operating environment, regulatory changes or other unexpected events such as cyberattacks, natural disasters or pandemics.
Corporate risks can have a significant impact on our ability to achieve our goals and objectives, and as such, require the attention of senior management and the Board. While all members of staff have responsibility for managing risks in their areas, each of the corporate risks has one or more named risk owner(s) and a risk manager who, together, are accountable for their management. Our Board retains ultimate responsibility.
The corporate risks as they stood at 31 March 2023 are set out below. These risks have been actively managed throughout the year by risk managers and risk owners with oversight from the Senior Leadership Team, the ARC and the Board.
|Protecting the integrity of the tax system
recognises our need to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure and operational processes to ensure the integrity of the tax system.
|Legislative and policy change
recognises our need to be consulted in good time for any upcoming legislative changes that may impact on devolved taxes.
|Communication and stakeholder engagement
recognises our need to have appropriate internal and external engagement to support our activities.
|Budgeting and finance
recognises our need to ensure we have the appropriate budget to ensure continued operations, investments in systems and planning of future work.
|Ways of working
recognises the need to maintain the conditions to foster a positive, inclusive way of working where staff are engaged and empowered.
|Staff capacity and capability recognises our need to build and/or protect staff capability and capacity in a sustainable way, investing in training and development
|Health, safety and wellbeing
allows us to monitor our legal and moral obligations to health, safety, mental health and wellbeing.
|Digital systems performance and adaptability
recognises our need to invest in our digital architecture and systems.
|Information and cyber security
recognises our need to have effective systems and controls in place to support the secure, management and transaction of our information.
|Governance and compliance allows us to monitor our compliance with our statutory obligations and the effectiveness of our governance procedures and controls.
recognises our need to have tested and effective business continuity planning to meet expectations.
allows us to improve the design of our systems, deliver evidenced based operational efficiencies and identify areas for innovation.
Values and behaviours
Our staff are civil servants who adhere to the Civil Service Code. 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 interest 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 this area
Records management and GDPR
During this reporting period we received feedback on the voluntary Progress Update Review (PUR) from the National Records of Scotland (NRS), in which they provide expert advice on an organisation’s records management plans. The Assessment Team found we continued to take our records management obligations seriously and agreed the records management arrangements outlined in our plan continue to be properly considered. The process highlighted a number of areas that needed to be addressed to further strengthen our records management arrangements. NRS indicated their agreement with the issues identified and the plans to address them. Work will take place throughout 2023-24 to address the areas identified.
Training has also been an important factor, with Governance staff receiving professional training in the fields of Freedom of Information and Data Protection. A mandatory STEP course is currently in development for all our staff to raise information management awareness and there are also plans to provide training to the Board in the future.
We take our statutory obligations seriously and have continued to work hard to ensure full compliance with our legal obligations whilst improving on its processes and procedures. In terms of our information management and assurance, we reported the following data incidents and losses
Reported in period
Reported to ICO
Reported in period
Reported to ICO
Having been thoroughly investigated internally, the incidents and losses identified were found to be of a minor nature that did not require to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations Requests
|Requests answered within statutory timescale
We have whistleblowing policy and procedures in place to ensure issues can be raised. During the reporting periods 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, and 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, we received no whistleblowing disclosures.
No investigations were carried out in this reporting period.
No actions were required during this period.
No improvement objectives were required during this period. Whilst no improvement objectives have been identified relating to any disclosures, we have revised our whistleblowing policy during this period and will be rolling out additional awareness raising to staff along with refreshed guidance.
Elaine Lorimer – Chief Executive of Revenue Scotland and Accountable Officer