Disclosure of Information: Memorandum of understanding
The procedure to take when making certain disclosures may be governed by a formal document called an Umbrella Memorandum of Understanding. This standardised process was introduced through the External Data Exchange project (NMWM16070). These memoranda are agreed by HM Revenue & Customs (NMWM02030) and the body receiving HM Revenue & Customs information. They facilitate the exchange of information between HM Revenue & Customs and others in certain types of disclosure by formalising the exact procedure which the information exchange should follow.
These memorandums are not in themselves legal gateways as they have no statutory force. However the memorandum may perform a number of useful functions such as:
- confirming the agreed legal understanding of the lawful authority for sharing the information;
- setting out administrative arrangements for the disclosure of information, including commitments to meet the relevant costs, persons involved, timescales, frequency of disclosure etc
- agreeing the terms under which the data may be disclosed beyond the receiving body, if at all.
It is important to note that some memoranda of understanding may have been created prior to the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act coming into force. This Act has altered some aspects of information law. If you are considering disclosing information to someone and there is a memorandum of understanding, you should check the terms of the memorandum to ensure the basis for disclosure remains sound. If the agreed legal understanding for the basis for disclosure is shown as ‘public interest’ (NMWM16105), you should check whether the category is in the Information Disclosure Guide (IDG60232). If a public interest disclosure is not listed (IDG60232) then it will no longer be lawful and the information should not be disclosed.