This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Strategic Goods and Services: Assessment of risk and offence action

Assessment of risk and offence action - Statement of respective areas of responsibility between Compliance Unit and HM Revenue and Customs

BIS Responsibility

When conducting a Compliance Visit BIS should:

  • Establish who in a company (post and name) is accountable for ensuring that export licensing controls are adhered to;
  • Ensure those company personnel engaged in exporting are fully aware of export licensing legislation in force at the time;
  • Audit companies’ procedures for establishing the licensability of goods;
  • Deal with technical queries on the licensability of goods;
  • Check records kept for individual consignments;
  • Examine exporter’ records maintained for goods exported under OGELs and OIELs;
  • Make Compliance Visit Reports available to all members of the REU via the REU and, where any possible CEMA contraventions are indicated, supply a copy of the report direct to HMRC (Strategic Exports and Sanctions Team) (see * below);
  • Notify HMRC (Strategic Exports and Sanctions Team) when exporters are recommended to make a voluntary disclosure.

BIS must avoid:

  • Pursuing any indication of possible contravention of CEMA requirements at an exporter’s premises.

*Commenting on culpability of matters where there is potential Customs breach.

Top of page

HMRC Responsibility

When conducting a visit on an exporter, HMRC SHOULD:

  • Verify the authenticity of exporters’ records;
  • Examine some goods at the premises immediately prior to export (intra-EC transfers and goods under LCP);
  • Verify the audit trial linking the documentation through the commercial process to export including the verification of particular stages of the export transaction;
  • Investigate any irregularity;
  • Advise BIS of action taken;
  • Impose any specific sanctions under CEMA (eg seizure, compounding and prosecution of offences);
  • Collate and maintain intelligence on suspect exports and exporters’;
  • Advise BIS of breaches of licence requirements.


BIS’s activity to be confined to only those exporters dealing in controlled goods;

The purpose of BIS’s visit is to:

  1. promote awareness of export controls; and
  2. ensure compliance with the licence conditions.

The level of visiting by HMRC will be as set by the Department.

The record of the visit will be a disclosable document and should contain a factual account of the persons seen, records inspected and advice and documentation (if any) provided. Care should be taken not to voice opinions which could be used to allege that BIS knew and condoned particular actions in relation to specific exports.