HMRC employs over 65,000 people nationwide, and has a people team of around 1500. The work they have put in to develop their people function to support the wider workforce demonstrates a clear commitment to delivering excellent people management, as well as supporting the overall business to succeed and thrive.


We're excited about becoming a CIPD People Development Partner and really pleased and proud of what we've done to get this accolade. We're doing all that we can to create a world-class, customer-centric tax authority, and this includes upskilling our staff to be leaders in their field and set the highest standards.

Jeanette Forder - Senior HR Business Partner (CPO), Deputy Head of HR Profession, HMRC

HMRC have for some time now been trailblazers in the pursuit of HR professionalisation, therefore I am absolutely delighted to see them recognised as a CIPD People Development Partner. We very much look forward to continuing our strong partnership building skills and capabilities needed for HR now and into the future.

Adam Stanbury - Head of Employer Solutions, CIPD

HMRC is the first civil service department, indeed the first public sector organisation, to become a CIPD People Development Partner (PDP). The move follows years of work to professionalise its HR function with a view to meeting future strategic challenges and becoming leaders for the HR profession.


One advantage of taking this step, says Jeanette Forder, Senior HR Business Partner at HMRC, is to share good practice with other PDPs, which include leading supermarket group Tesco. It also ties in with a strategic emphasis on HMRC being a ‘great place to work’ by to improve the employee experience for people working in the organisation.

HMRC is basing future capability plans for HR professionals and the broader function on the CIPD’s new Profession Map. The key tenets at the centre of the map – values-led, evidence-based and outcomes-driven – are in harmony with HMRC’s people strategy.

In the case of the HR Business Partner programme HMRC is running, which is very focused on the business partner of the future with a heavy emphasis on data and insight capability, business partnering is being treated almost as a profession in its own right; as a behaviour and way of working, rather than a role.

Jeanette says that there has also been a greater focus on ethics and what it means to be values-led. ‘Then really shining that light back on ourselves in terms of, so if we want to be the leaders here, what does that mean for us with respect to ethics and values as well as capabilities?’

Every year, HMRC invests significantly in the professionalism of its HR function and tries to make sure it teaches new skills in ways that stretch its people and helps us develop our thinking. To this end, it makes use of action learning sets, webinars, research and a variety of other techniques.

HMRC has also brought in a series of new development programmes covering topics like employee relations, strategic workforce planning, organisational design and learning and development. However, it still offers its traditional Level 3 and Level 5 CIPD programmes.

A recent target was for 75% of HR staff to have a CIPD qualification by 2020. But, says Jeanette, clearly there is a need to be ‘a little more ambitious’ and revise that target upwards as by the last count, 82% of staff already had some form of accreditation.


‘The People Development Partnership brings that badge of confidence about being a people expert,’ says Breda O’Connor, HR Director at HMRC. ‘There’s a sense of pride and community as well – a celebration of being in the HR/People function.

‘We’re also starting to see our evidence-based approach really come to life. Now you see people challenging more and thinking more: if we are going to do things, if we are going to make an intervention, where’s the evidence and the data for this so we deliver the best outcomes.’

Additionally, HMRC’s drive to achieve the best outcomes now incorporates more of an outward-looking perspective in a bid to learn from others. ‘We’ve become more open and externally focused on best practice – and who better for best practice and fit than the CIPD?’ says O’Connor.

As HMRC's Chief People Officer and the Head of our HR Profession, I am delighted that our work has been recognised by our Professional Body. We have been investing in the skills and career development of our colleagues for a number of years now and are really proud of what we have achieved- we set ourselves an ambition to have 75% of our function CIPD accredited by 2020. As a result of a team who want to keep learning and the commitment of our partners, I am delighted that we have exceeded our ambition.

But that is only part of the story. We have extended our professional development offer so that we are not just focusing on the skills we need now, but very much looking to the future and how we will build a world class HR function to build an organisation that truly is a Great Place to Work. We are very much looking forward to continuing our excellent partnership with CIPD and continuing to build a highly professional HR function.

Esther Wallington - Chief People Officer, HMRC

To find out more about becoming a CIPD People Development Partner, get in touch with the team by emailing

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