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HMRC internal manual

Complaint Handling Guidance

Dealing with Complaints: Cross-Business Complaints

It is not uncommon to receive complaints that cover the activities of more than one Business Unit. So far as the complainant is concerned, they are dealing with HMRC, and you should make every effort to provide a joined-up response. To do otherwise could give the impression that our approach to customer service is fragmented and disjointed. Providing separate responses also carries the risk that the information provided by one business area may not tally with the information provided by another business area. This only serves to make matters worse and reflects badly on our professionalism.

Usually the bulk of any multi-aspect complaint relates to one particular business unit and in such cases that unit must take responsibility for coordinating the response, and seeking advice and help from other units as appropriate. If it is not obvious from the complaint which unit should take the lead, you must contact complaints handlers in the other unit(s) and agree between you who will take the lead and who will feed into the response.

Our priority should always be to start dealing with the complaint as soon as possible even if ownership is not immediately apparent.

There may be circumstances where a business area needs to take ownership of a complaint in order to avoid any further delay before a final decision on ownership is made.

If a business area takes ownership of the complaint due to these circumstances, they will likely request information from another business area and note them as a contributor on ECCS. The contributing area should then set up the case as a contribution on ECCS.

If the complaint is closed at tier 1 by the business area that first took ownership, then a tier 2 complaint is subsequently submitted:

·       Tier 2 should only be dealt with by the business area that took ownership of the original complaint, if the tier 2 is mainly about the handling of the tier 1. For example delay in processing the complaint in the original business area.


·       Tier 2 should be dealt with by the business area that provided the contribution if this is what the tier 2 is mainly about.

Not all cases will be straight forward. If you cannot agree who should respond, contact  CCAST for advice.