Market leading insight for tax experts
View online issue

Revenue Scotland’s second corporate plan

printer Mail

Since 2015, when Revenue Scotland became operational as the first Scottish devolved tax authority in 300 years, it has undergone an astonishing amount of transformation – from top to bottom. Eleanor Emberson, the CEO who signed off the first three year plan for 2015–18 was replaced in 2016 by Elaine Lorimer. The staff of Revenue Scotland has doubled in size from around 30 to 60, with many of those who carried out the implementation phase being replaced with operationally focused technical staff. Revenue Scotland now has established IT systems, collection processes, a core technical and management team, and online guidance manuals for its two devolved taxes.

Revenue Scotland’s powers: The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act (RSTPA) 2014 s 11 requires Revenue Scotland to prepare a corporate plan and submit it for approval by Scottish ministers. The corporate plan must be for a three year period and must set out:

  • Revenue Scotland’s main objectives for the planning period;
  • the outcomes by reference to which the achievement of the main objectives may be measured; and
  • the activities which Revenue Scotland expects to undertake during the planning period.

Out with the old, in with the new.

So, with all this change, how do the old and new corporate plans compare? The first corporate plan was really an introduction to the roles and responsibilities within the authority, setting out the standards and values it expected to champion, and introducing the board and senior management team and its strategic vision. Revenue Scotland’s second three-year corporate plan ( is accompanied by a shorter summary leaflet (, and sets out Revenue Scotland’s vision, purpose and objectives for the period 2018–21. More reader-friendly than its predecessor, it is more of a ‘business as usual’ document, setting out key priorities and KPIs in four core themes and objectives, as described below:

  • 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;
  • Investing in our people: develop and support a highly skilled and engaged workforce upholding the standards of professionalism and integrity;
  • 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; and
  • Looking ahead: plan and deliver change and improvements to our systems and processes flexibly, on time and on budget.

Devolved taxes: Although it was at first anticipated that more than two fully devolved taxes would appear within the first three years of operation, this was not to be due to various difficulties at European level with the aggregates levy and the air departure tax, which are both waiting in the wings to make their entrance. However, there have been changes even within the two fully operational devolved taxes since 1 April 2015. The land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT), in particular, has seen the introduction of the additional dwelling supplement and first time buyers’ relief, as well as the correction by secondary legislation of some anomalies such as group relief and share pledges (albeit this doesn’t look as if it will be amended retrospectively if it is being done by way of statutory instrument).

KPIs: It is obvious that much thought has been devoted to the creation of the corporate plan, and Revenue Scotland has consulted widely on its drafting (ICAS participated in this). Worthy of note is the table of KPIs (see page 14–15 of the shorter summary or 24–25 of the longer document). Some questions remain whether Revenue Scotland is measuring the right KPIs – which currently focus inwardly – on statistical data processing targets, for example. Customer service and satisfaction now needs to become an integral part of its outward focus. 

Issue: 1400
Categories: In brief