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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Customer contact and data security: telephone contact: sensitive call handling: visually impaired customers

At times during a call it may become apparent that the customer has been unable to read the correspondence which has been issued to them due to their visual impairment.

In these cases discuss with the customer, with tact and empathy, how they would like to proceed and advise that you can set an indicator to ensure the customer’s correspondence is issued in an alternative format suitable to their needs. The Visually Impaired Media Unit (VIMU) based in Shipley is able to provide a tailored design and audio service for customers with visual impairments. They can also reproduce all HM Revenue & Customs leaflets, guidance notes and most other written material.

For guidance, see the instructions at ‘Request material in an alternative format’.


Some customers may prefer to handle their dealings in these circumstances with the department through an agent, representative or third party (including a voluntary organisation), and our normal guidance regarding authority and security should still be followed - see DMBM511600 about contact with third parties.

Where a customer is unable to directly deal with their own affairs they may decide to provide a third party with authority to act on their behalf. A power of attorney is a legal document whereby a person (the ‘donor’) gives another person (the ‘attorney’ or ‘donee’) this authority - see IDG30430 Disclosure when there is power of attorney.