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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Noting the record: introduction

An electronic record of the call is necessary to protect yourself and the Department should there be any dispute about the nature of the call. The two exceptions to this are:

  • when transferring a call to another part of the department; it is then their responsibility to record details of the call
  • where a call is only for general information that the adviser can provide without access to a customer’s record.

For Local Services this should also be supported by a written note in any instance where you feel that the customer was in any way dissatisfied at the end of the call, or where you suspect that they may not have fully understood what was said.

It will also assist in presenting our position in cases where the Adjudicator has been asked to conduct a review.

The three main reasons why you may need to make a note of a telephone call are:

  • we may need a permanent record of what was said and agreed
  • you may have further action to take as a result of the call and you need a note to remind you what to do
  • you may have taken the call on behalf of somebody else and they need a note of what was said so they can take the appropriate action.

What notes do I keep?

Note: The provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) apply to all customer records held on the HMRC computer systems. This means that our customers may have a legal right to check any information shown on their records, including any notes you make about them.

  • You will not need to make a note of the full conversation - just the main points.
  • Make sure that your notes make sense to whoever reads them.
  • You must not enter any note which could cause offence to anyone or that you would not want the customer to see.
  • Only use approved abbreviations.

You will need to use your own judgement of what notes to make but you must normally keep a record of all telephone enquiries where you think:

  • the customer may take (or not take) some action based on information or advice you have given
  • there could be some confusion, or even dispute, over what was actually said
  • a complaint will be made, or the call relates to an ongoing complaint
  • the customer was rude, aggressive, angry and / or abusive; this type of note should only be entered on IDMS Notes and Assets, not on action history or designatory details
  • the enquiry itself was detailed enough to warrant a record, for example, tax obligations or specific legislation was discussed.


Whenever you deal with an IDMS, DTR and/or Head of Duty record it is important to record a clear note identifying yourself and summarising the action you have taken and why.

You should always use DM abbreviations so that anyone dealing with a case in the future can be clear on what you did and if need be contact you.

If the customer is rude, aggressive, angry and/or abusive, your note advising this should only be entered on IDMS Notes and Assets.

You should also ensure that you choose the correct selection from the drop-down menu in IDMS.

You should always add the following to your note:

  • the action you took
  • the reason or reasons you took that action
  • what (if any) further action needs to be taken
  • who you spoke to and their position (for customer contact)
  • your PID.

It is vital if you are asked for proof that you are calling from HMRC that you also note the HoD system relevant to that caller, this is so that when the customer calls back if they phone a different directorate - for example, the PT Ops contact centres - that they know it was a genuine call from a member of Debt Management. For more information on this, see DMBM511190.