Committee member since 2018
Contact: [email protected]
Having always been interested in the organised labour movement and previously being a member of USDAW in a retail job, joining a union recognised by HMRC was always a clear course of action for me. I wanted to join a union that would support me, especially one which had officers with experience of addressing issues and concerns previously raised by members in a similar position as me. Therefore I decided to join ARC as it had a large number of trainee members. Such a concentration of colleagues on similar training schemes would ensure that I, as part a larger group, would have a voice when raising questions with the Department.
The need to be represented and supported by a recognised body was even more necessary due to my (in)experience in HMRC. I joined the department in late 2017 on the second iteration of the ICAS TSP pilot (which was not offered to trainees in 2018 & 2019). It has been a whirlwind experience with many highs and lows over the past few years, especially with the pressure of completing a much shortened course. However, I fully recognise the investment HMRC puts into its trainees and the privilege it is it is to be on a programme which offers so many opportunities to learn and progress in the department.
I decided to join ARC as it had a large number of trainee members. Such a concentration of colleagues on similar training schemes would ensure that I, as part a larger group, would have a voice when raising questions with the department.
Even with the pressures and demands of life on the TSP, I was interested in getting involved with the union further, and when I saw the national Committee vacancies being promoted, I thought it was a perfect opportunity. Perhaps in my naivety I did not realise the commitment and involvement of the role, and in only a few months I have come to recognise the hard work long-standing committee members, officers and centre representatives have consistently put in for the benefit of their fellow members. To date my experience on Committee is very limited but it is clear a lot of work is being done behind the scenes on many issues, such as those raised at the AGM in May.
With regards to my own interests and responsibilities in the union, I am passionate about re-establishing ARC centres in Scotland to their former status and levels of activity (I am based in Meldrum House, Edinburgh). I have already been in contact with committee reps based in Glasgow, who recently in conjunction with the Glasgow centre reps organised a meeting for current and prospective members. We hope that we can establish frequent and productive collaboration in ARC across Scotland to hold joint events in the future, such as caseworker training. In terms of ARC Edinburgh, I and Iain Campbell (centre rep and ARC Officer) hope to be in touch soon (once GDPR matters are settled) about a similar event to Glasgow’s, so please watch this space!
Finally, as a trainee (and the only current trainee on committee), I am always interested to hear about issues or concerns being experienced by fellow trainees which ARC can bring to HMRC’s attention. If one person has been affected it is likely to have impacted others also, so please feel welcome to raise issues with the union as you are probably not alone in this respect! With the ever changing content, length and structure of TSP courses, it is likely that colleagues (myself included) have or will suffer from stress, fatigue and other mental health challenges during and after their time as a trainee. Therefore it is imperative that you speak to someone at the earliest opportunity if you encounter any difficulties, whether that person be a colleague, union member or manager. Regardless of who you speak to, ARC is here to support you as your union and we will be receptive when you make contact with us.