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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: specialist employer compliance: customer service - status - referrals to SEC

Referrals to Specialist Employer Compliance

ESRA Referrals

Cases will be referred to Specialist Employer Compliance where

  • ESI can’t provide an opinion
  • the customer disputes the ESI opinion
  • the case is complex
  • the customer needs further help with one or more ESI questions or
  • exceptionally ESI is not available.

These referrals will be made using the Employment Status Referral Application (ESRA) (Word 28kb). The SEC must

  • action ESRA referrals and
  • contact the customer

within 2 working days.

It is the Manager’s responsibility to make sure that the customer service standard is met, cases are worked without delay and outcomes recorded accurately.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Referral from Statutory Disputes Team, NICO, DTI, Employment Tribunals, DWP

As well as ESRA referrals the SEC will also receive referrals from

  • the Statutory Disputes Team, Benton Park View, Longbenton,
  • NICO Refunds Group, Benton Park View, Longbenton and
  • some Other Government Department’s (OGD) including DTI and Home Office.

Referrals from these teams will include

  • all the evidence gathered, including notes of telephone conversations with engager and/or worker
  • prints of the ESI summary and enquiry details screens where available
  • any supplementary evidence supplied by the worker or engager.

These referrals should be worked as a customer service enquiry from a worker. However due to the fact that

  • HMRC may be required by employment tribunals and other appeal tribunals to provide an opinion/decision; and
  • in many cases the worker is in dispute with the engager

it will be necessary to consider the facts provided by both the worker and the engager.

Where information has already been submitted from both worker and engager this should be examined to form an opinion. Where more information is required it may be necessary to interview

  • the worker
  • the engager, or
  • both

Once an opinion is reached having undertaken fact-finding in accordance with the guidance at ESM0525, an opinion letter, incorporating the aspect referred should be issued to both worker and engager with a copy being sent to the referring office. This must be signed by a Status Inspector. As a minimum requirement the opinion must cover the period that is disputed. In some instances this may be as short as a single day. This is especially important in cases where the engager is disputing the liability.

If it is considered that a liability exists the facts should be passed to Risk for consideration of an intervention action.

Referrals from Home Office (Immigration Service)

The SEC may occasionally receive a referral or a request to assist the Home Office in ascertaining a workers employment status. These cases should be referred to the nominated Status Inspectors in LC NW & Midlands and Eastern.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

These referrals will have been anonymised, and no attempt should be made to identify the parties involved.