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HMRC internal manual

Complaint Handling Guidance

Complaints to the Adjudicator: Interaction with the Adjudicator's Office

Once they have your report, the Adjudicator’s Office caseworker may find it helpful to discuss certain aspects of the case with you. Be prepared to help the Adjudicator’s Office with their review. Do not automatically assume that, by asking difficult or probing questions, the Adjudicator’s Office are implying that we should have taken a different decision. More often than not, they will be looking to understand the rationale behind our decisions, so as to assess why they were made and the extent to which they were reasonable in all the prevailing circumstances. We should have asked ourselves similar questions in the course of our own investigations.

The Adjudicator’s Office will return your files to you if you need them to answer a specific question. Remember to send the files back to the Adjudicator’s Office when you have got all you need from them.

Although we are under no requirement to do so, HMRC expects to accept and implement the Adjudicator’s recommendations. The SLA with the Adjudicator provides for specific procedures to be followed in the event that, exceptionally, HMRC were to consider declining to accept an Adjudicator’s recommendation. It follows that in no circumstances should you refuse to implement the Adjudicator’s recommendations. If you have concerns about an Adjudicator’s recommendation, contact CCAST immediately, who in turn will liaise with CPST where necessary.

If you receive a letter about a complaint under investigation by the Adjudicator:

  • tell your business unit director’s team, or equivalent if appropriate
  • send a copy of the letter to the Adjudicator
  • tell the customer what action you have taken.

If you receive a complaint about the way the Adjudicator has investigated a complaint or the Adjudicator’s recommendations, explain that:

  • as the Adjudicator is outside the management structure of HMRC it would be inappropriate to comment on their actions and that you will forward a copy of the complaint to the Adjudicator’s office
  • the complaint can be pursued further by asking a Member of Parliament to refer it to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

CPST manages the SLA with the Adjudicator’s Office. CCAST provide help and advice on individual cases being investigated by the Adjudicator’s Office.