Lean and mean in the Civil Service: the case of processing in HMRC

Bob Carter, Andrew Danford, Debra Howcroft, Helen Richardson, Andrew Smith, Philip Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The public sector has been importing private sector methods and practices aimed at generating efficiencies and cost savings. However, the consequences of these changes on the working lives of civil servants are under-researched. This article uses detailed fieldwork to investigate the impact of Lean on labour processes in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). We argue that Lean has a detrimental effect on employees, their working lives, and the service that is provided to the public. The consequences of Lean on public sector work are highly problematic, which is of serious concern given its progressive impact on other civil service departments in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Money and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2011


  • civil service
  • public sector
  • efficiency
  • labour processes
  • HMRC
  • Lean


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