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HMRC internal manual

Information Disclosure Guide

Information disclosure Gateways with other government departments: Part 5 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 Chapter 1 - Public Service Delivery

Any information, including identifying information, held by HMRC for its functions, may be shared as long as it is used for the purposes of an objective specified in the Digital Government (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2018.

There are four objectives:

i.          Multiple disadvantages: Information sharing to help identify individuals or households which face 2 or more disadvantages and to improve the provision of public services to them accordingly. The complete list of factors that constitute a disadvantage are listed in the regulations. Information can be shared if there is a  presence of two or more disadvantages and the data share improves the targeting of a public service to deliver better outcomes for individual or households.

ii.         Television retuning: Information sharing to identify individuals or households who may be eligible for assistance for re-tuning their TV’s as a result of the upcoming changes to the broadcasting spectrum.

iii.        Fuel poverty: Information sharing to identify and assist people living in fuel poverty by reducing their energy costs and improving their well- being.

iv.        Water poverty: Information sharing to identify and assist people living in water poverty by reducing their water costs and improving their well- being.

The full list of organisations that HMRC can share information with for each specified objective will vary and is set out in the Digital Government (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2018.

Public authorities (for England- only and non- devolved matters) that wish to add a new objective or be added to the list of ‘specified persons’ must go through the Secretariat to the Public Service Delivery Board at Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

The Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Secretary of State or the relevant authority from a devolved administration can make regulations to add, modify or remove a reference to a public authority or description of a public authority. Devolved administrations will establish their own governance structures for oversight of information sharing within their areas and will work closely with the UK Review Board.

All new objectives will be set in Regulations and will be subject to a consultation process and approval by both Houses of Parliament. New objectives must meet all of the conditions which are set out in section 35 of the Digital Economy Act 2017:

Disclosure under the public service delivery powers is subject to a Code of Practice. All persons using or disclosing information under the powers must adhere to the standards and principles contained in the Code of Practice.