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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Disclosure of information: procedure to obtain consent -written or verbal

Consent to disclose a customer’s own personal information (NMWM16350) will generally be provided in writing, but may also be given verbally in certain limited circumstances.

The standard way for a customer to provide consent is by completing and returning form 64-8.

While using official forms is to be encouraged, written consent can be given in other ways, such as a letter. The written consent must identify:

  • who the customer gives HM Revenue & Customs (NMWM02030) consent to disclose information to, and
  • the nature of the information to be disclosed.

In all cases the written consent must be signed and dated by the customer. The signature should be original and not a photocopy, scan or carbon copy.

If a third party is present during an interview written consent to disclosure must be obtained (NMWM16370).

If you are unsure about whether the consent should still apply (for example because it is old), or if you are unsure about whether the consent applies to the information in question, please contact Operational Advisory Team for advice.

In some cases written consent cannot be obtained in a way convenient for all involved. This will generally be during a telephone conversation with a customer where they have another person with them who they want to speak on their behalf. In these rare cases, verbal consent may be accepted. You may only disclose in these cases when the following procedure is followed:

  • the identity of the customer must be satisfactorily verified;
  • the customer must confirm that they are providing consent for HM Revenue & Customs to disclose information to a named party; and
  • the identity of the third party must be verified satisfactorily.

The representative must pass the normal security checks, so that they are verified satisfactorily, whoever they claim to be. For example the customer’s solicitor, agent, spouse, family member, friend, or member of voluntary advice service must all pass the checks.

Verbal consent may only be accepted where it is known that the consent will be recorded using that office’s full automatic voice recording facilities. Generally such equipment is only in use in Contact Centres. Recording in this way provides a comprehensive audit trail that can be retrieved and used in evidence in any subsequent cases of dispute.

The customer and third party should be made aware that the verbal consent applies for the purpose of that single telephone conversation only and that written consent must be provided if the third party wishes to act on the customer’s behalf on future occasions.

While NMW Officers will not normally be in a position to accept verbal consent, it is possible that in some cases recorded consent may have been received in a conversation with he Pay & Work Rights Helpline (NMWM02040).