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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Liaison: External Links - DWP - Who is authorised to disclose what?

Because you will be carrying out examinations and enquiries into NTC claims, you will be an authorised person for the purposes of disclosing information to DWP officers. The DWP should make requests for information in writing and should give the reason for the request.

The DWP has supplied its staff with a template for making these requests, and you should not supply information unless the request is made on this template (see Information Disclosure Guidance IDG90200 for a copy of the form). As requests should be directed initially to the Liaison Officer in the CCRO, you can expect that s/he will have checked that the request has been properly made before forwarding it to you. If you receive any requests direct from a DWP officer, you should not provide any information, but should advise the officer to direct the request to the Liaison Officer.

You must always reply in writing, using the request form from the DWP, you must not disclose information by telephone. If the matter is particularly urgent you may send a reply by fax, but you must be aware of the need to maintain security. You should make two copies of the letter or fax disclosing the information, one for your own papers and one for the Liaison Officer, who will retain it in the disclosure file they maintain.

You may disclose information spontaneously, without a request from the DWP, if you believe the information you hold indicates a potential benefit irregularity. It is important that you only disclose information of potential value to the DWP. Liaison Officers will have discussed the criteria for spontaneous disclosure with their DWP counterparts, and will be able to advise you what those criteria are, and whether they apply to the information you are considering disclosing.

You may disclose, in writing, information you come across while carrying out your duties, but you must not specifically seek information on behalf of a DWP officer. You must not disclose any information verbally, either face to face or on the telephone, even if you know the person you are speaking to. The notification should include the name and address of the person(s) concerned, the National Insurance number (NINo), the Unique Reference number, and sufficient information to make it clear why you suspect benefit fraud. You should send the notification to the DWP Fraud Investigation Liaison Officer (FILO) for your Area, and a copy to your Area Liaison Officer.