25 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Delays updating Customs systems

Start the conversation


UK Members of Parliament have expressed dismay at delays to the updating of HM Revenue and Customs systems, saying the Department may not be ready should the UK leave the European Union (Brexit) next year without an agreement in place.

Chair of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier said she had written to the Department’s Permanent Secretary, Jon Thompson expressing her concern that the Customs Declaration System (CDS) would be delivered two months behind schedule.

“We were disappointed that despite your previous and repeated assurances about the progress of CDS, there has yet again been a slip in the timing of the program just weeks after we last took evidence on the subject,” Ms Hillier said.

In April, Mr Thompson told MPs the Agency was “on track” to complete the update on time.

However, giving evidence to the Committee on 5 September, he said CDS would not be fully rolled out until March, two months after it was due to come into operation.

This means Customs will not be ready to process exports by the New Year, as previously hoped.

Work to replace the existing system, Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF), began in 2013–14 after the vote to leave the EU.

It became clear that, post Brexit, its replacement would need to handle five times the volume of declarations.

In her letter, Ms Hillier also said she was “concerned and disappointed” about Customs lack of progress in terms of helping businesses prepare for the possibility that the UK might leave the EU without reaching a withdrawal agreement.

She said the Committee had urged the Agency to tell businesses how to prepare for a no-deal scenario in July, but two months later “you gave us no assurance that Customs has a plan to ensure that businesses are aware of what they need to do”.

London, 5 October 2018

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.