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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

Introduction to assurance: importance of consultation

There are circumstances when officers must seek prior approval from line managers before taking a particular course of action. These are identified in the appropriate parts of the guidelines.

Consultation with line managers, colleagues or Units of Expertise (UoE) may also be necessary. It is especially important that inexperienced officers seek advice from more experienced colleagues, expert resources andV1-37 Control notes/Tactical and Information Packages (TIPS).

Consultation will help to ensure that information is disseminated, uniform standards are applied, and that staff are developed.

There are many occasions where a second opinion can be taken to good advantage, e.g.

  • a proposed visit to an unfamiliar type of business;
  • visit preparation may suggest complex liability issues, or reveal areas of doubt;
  • problems may be encountered concerning access (for example, guard dogs, unsafe buildings) or production of records;
  • uncertainties may arise about an assessment of tax as to whether a trader is treated as suspect or whether a return visit needs to be made for example; and
  • where the trader has a record of aggression or where visiting by an Officer alone may be potentially hazardous.

Consultation in such matters need not inhibit initiative. Rather it recognises the appropriate use of available resources, including the knowledge and experience of line managers and colleagues.

It is vital of course, for you, in turn, to be supportive to less experienced colleagues.