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HMRC internal manual

Information Disclosure Guide

Public Interest Disclosures: principles to follow: disclosure categories: individual instructions

Where a need arises for a disclosure that falls within the circumstances described in Section 20 CRCA (see IDG60232), but which is not within the terms of an existing general instruction (see IDG60233), an individual instruction to disclose may be issued. The Commissioners have instructed that no Individual Instructions are to be authorised under Section 20(3) in respect of disclosures to an accountancy body with responsibility for the regulation of members of the accountancy profession. Furthermore, disclosures to other professional regulatory bodies under Section 20(3) must not be made without first seeking guidance from Information Policy and Disclosure (see IDG80100).

Individual Instructions must only be made in respect of a one-off disclosure of specified information that relates to specified persons, transactions or goods. In order to issue an individual instruction, the rules and procedures set out below must be followed (these are also set out in the flowchart at IDG60251, which you may find it helpful to follow).

  1. You must confirm that the disclosure does not fall within an existing statutory gateway (see IDG40320).
  2. You must confirm that the proposed disclosure falls within the circumstances and purposes for which the Commissioners permit disclosure under Section 20 CRCA (see IDG60232). If in doubt, contact the Information Policy and Disclosure team for advice (see IDG80100).
  3. You should check that the disclosure is not already covered by a general instruction (see IDG60233). If it is, then the disclosure must be made under the general instruction and a further individual instruction is not required.
  4. You must consider the necessity and proportionality of the disclosure (see IDG60220for guidance on making this judgement).
  5. You must log the sequence of information required by the record-keeping procedures set out at IDG60240.
  6. You must obtain clearance to disclose at not less than Grade 7 (band 11/B2 level), unless authority has been delegated below this. Note that authority may in no circumstances be delegated below Higher Officer (band 7/C2) level. Any rules, procedures and safeguards which would normally apply in your business area to delegation will apply equally to authority to disclose in the public interest.
  7. The authorising officer should conduct a final check to ensure that all necessary requirements have been followed - and in particular:
* that the requirements set out at points 1-5 above have been followed; and 
* that the disclosure can be justified in terms of necessity and proportionality (see [IDG60220]( 

If in doubt on any point, consult line management or Information Policy and Disclosure (see IDG80100) for advice.

Please see IDG60253 for a flowchart of the process of making an Individual Instructions Disclosure.