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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Working the examination: Meaning of directed surveillance

Directed surveillance is any surveillance that is:

  • conducted covertly: for these purposes “covert” means in a way intended to prevent the claimant (or other customer) finding out; and
  • carried out for the purpose of a specific operation or investigation that is likely to result in obtaining private information. In this context, private information includes information relating to the claimant’s private or family life
  • unless the surveillance is carried out as an immediate response to events.It follows that any work that is:

  • carried out covertly; and
  • involves monitoring or observing or listening to people or their activities; and
  • is for the purposes of a specific operation; and
  • is likely to result in private side informationis directed surveillance.

To be lawful, such activities must follow the procedures set out in the SIGMA section of the HMRC Enforcement Handbook.

Work that is directed surveillance will include:

  • any activity which involves watching people or their activities
  • covert surveillance work undertaken to establish the residence of or locate a claimant or suspected partner.