HMRC have introduced rules which require office staff to fill in a forms and keep records before they can club together to buy tea, coffee and milk, Scrapbook can reveal. Workers at the National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office (NIC&EO) must obtain written permission from a staff officer (SO) before forming that age-old office institution: a tea and coffee club.

1.7.2 Tea clubs or similar

Written permission must be obtained from an SO using form Appendix NIC&EO 1 before a tea club is set up. When running a tea club a collector must be appointed and issued with form Appendix NIC&EO 3. The contributor must sign to confirm amount paid. All forms must be kept for 3 years

A receipt must be obtained for any products purchased and attached to the collection sheet as a record.

All goods and consumables, for example bulk buys of tea and coffee, etc., must be locked away when not in use and only accessible by members of the club. If the tea club has either 5 members or more and the club has more than £20.00 carried forward then the guidance for setting up and running a club must be followed.

This is simply beyond satire.

UPDATE: It seems the mad bureaucracy above, taken from the “Collecting money in the workplace guidance” of HMRC’s office in Longbenton, Newcastle, is not the work of a lone, over-zealous pen pusher. Here is the tea club policy of HMRC’s Special Investigations Unit in Manchester!

4.7 Management Test Checks (MTC)
MTC8 Staff Clubs (Unofficial Activities)

To ensure that any staff clubs are run in accordance with HR guidelines.

The checking officer will examine annually: The records for any staff clubs (tea clubs etc) run within their team

The reviewing officer will:

  • Confirm that any additional clubs have been set up with the approval of the Operational Leader
  • Confirm, by examination of minutes, that any bank/building society account has been opened in the name of the club and is operated jointly by two signatories
  • Confirm that any money collected for a bank/building society club is banked on the same day as collection or is held in a safe, secure and locked place overnight.
  • Confirm that duplicate keys for any club cash box are not held by the Deputy treasurer.
  • Obtain copies of records to ensure these are up to date and accurate.

The checking officer will:

  • Keep evidence of the checks conducted and the outcome of those checks
  • Sign and date the documents checked
  • Evidence of the review to be retained for 2 years

The Operational Leader will decide action to be taken when errors are found. A written record of any discussion and action taken should be retained for at least 12 months.

  1. I worked for the old DSS for some 20 years until the late nineties and this was always the case. The Tea Club was subject to routine audits on a quarterly basis by an HEO and ‘spot’ audits, at the same grade, several times a year. Most people did not participate as any discrepancies led to stiff disciplinary action
    Yes, beyond satire.

  2. But this is the HMRC… the pinnacle of bean counting. I’d be surprised if in addition to the above they didn’t also have to record the kWh sucked up by the kettle. In any case staff can obviously avoid all of this and do the equivalent of off-shoring by bringing their preferred beverage into work in a flask…

  3. Ginger Tea says:

    What freaks! Just bring your own tea and biscuits, sod starting a “club”. Do they have a policy on dipping rich teas?

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