5. Manual procedures

All declarations are expected to be made electronically, if you don’t have access to CHIEF you should consider arranging for a third party to submit the declaration on your behalf. Sometimes it may be necessary to use the manual process. For example, someone taking commercial goods with them in their baggage to raise sales for a new company that does not yet have access to CHIEF.

Before any goods can be granted Permission to Progress (P2P) and leave the country they must be input to CHIEF. Manual processing is carried out by the National Clearance Hub at Salford.

Manual declarations will be processed according to the Department’s Charter Standards. However, they are likely to take longer to be processed than those submitted electronically to CHIEF by or on behalf of the exporter/declarant.

15. Non availability of computer systems: fallback

When breaks in connectivity to CHIEF NES routes occur a decision may be made to revert to manual paper declarations. The procedures adopted are known as ‘fallback’. Development of electronic services means that breaks in transmission are always a possibility, although any planned changes in the CHIEF services will be notified in advance of any downtime via the CHIEF Noticeboard and our web pages.

In cases where other routes are likely to be affected, for example CSP downtime, HMRC will need to know, in advance of any changes to these systems. Details should include:

  • how much anticipated downtime there will be
  • when the system will be fully restored
  • what recovery measures will be undertaken should the planned changes fail or be delayed

It is therefore important that any extended break in communication or ongoing computer failure is brought to the attention of both customs and traders immediately.

15.1 Notice to traders

Messages will be given to the trade to let them know when CHIEF will be unavailable on this website, CSP lists and the NES helpline in Cardiff. Details will also be given to the Excise and Customs Helpline.

If a break occurs with one of the routes into CHIEF and/or the Government Gateway, customs will first investigate the reason behind the failed connections before considering the adoption of fallback measures.

CSPs have developed their own fallback measures for CHIEF failure and exporters routing their entries through CSPs should familiarise themselves with these procedures.

15.2 What to do when fallback is invoked

The failure of an electronic route into CHIEF for NES can cause problems. Irrespective of the NES route into CHIEF, the failure of a trader’s chosen route can cause delays. Even though NES offers a wide variety of access channels, it is not always a viable alternative for some traders to use another route by which to submit their export declarations.

Traders are encouraged to persist in their efforts and keep trying their chosen route. Alternatively, they may opt for one of the other available routes into CHIEF to affect early clearance or make use of a pre-arranged fallback partner if such an arrangement is in place.

Connectivity is normally down for short periods of time only. Therefore it is not practicable to introduce fallback measures, but when directed may use the following fallback procedures.

When it’s confirmed that any of the available routes into CHIEF have been down for at least half a working day (and are expected to be unavailable for the foreseeable future), HMRC will invoke fallback entry procedures for users of the affected access route only. Fallback will be announced via a number of mediums, including the CHIEF Notice board, the NES Helpdesk and/or the Excise and Customs Helpline.

Under fallback, declarants will be required to present 3 documents:

  1. A completed form C88/ESS declaration – traders authorised for the SDP or CSE will be allowed to submit partially completed C88/ESS forms as PSAs.
    Traders who are not authorised for simplified procedures must complete all the required boxes on form C88/ESS for a full export declaration.
  2. This declaration is to be supported with a written undertaking to commit the C88/ESS export declaration electronically, once services resume. This is to be made on a C1402.
  3. A completed C130EX which customs will authenticate, to indicate that the goods have Permission to Progress, (where such manual releases can be accepted by loaders).

Local arrangements may be made in those ports using either CNS or MCP inventory linking for an override mechanism to authorise loading. In these circumstances the load list should be marked for audit purposes post recovery.

For goods shipping via the EU (indirect exports) any frontier presentation/arrival should be accompanied by either a NES Copy 3 print or a manual Copy 3. These forms should be headed ‘Fallback’ with a matching DUCR or MUCR reference in box 44.

Responsibility for lodging these documents with customs and presenting evidence of permission to progress to loaders, remains with the exporter/declarant.

Priority will be given to categories of goods normally recognised as requiring urgent treatment by their nature (for example perishable goods).

Processing of other fallback requests may be subject to availability of resources and Charter Standards timescales.

Although customs will issue manual P2P (C130EX) this does not guarantee that export loaders will be able to process and ship the consignments (for example, if their own inventory linked systems are still working). This is a commercial matter outside of customs control.

For exports via CCS-UK airports CNS and MCP ports and other inventory linked environments, there may also be fallback requirement for existing entries to be associated and/or closed by the declarant on CHIEF. Where possible, declarants should make arrangements with other trade user to undertake this on their behalf.

In some situations, there may be a need for customs to undertake association of a consignment to a MUCR. Where this occurs the trader is to supply details of the correct MUCR and a list of the individual DUCRs.

Goods already declared and reported as arrived at a DEP that still have not received permission to progress, must remain at that location until released by customs. Goods not yet reported to CHIEF at a DEP can either remain at the DEP (until the system is available), or be removed and entered at a frontier location. Fallback is not allowed at a DEPs.

CSE consignments will be controlled on a local basis, with the option of being declared at a frontier location remaining. If a trader has made a CSE declaration and undue delays occur NCH staff will be able to release using a C130EX where necessary.

Additional points

It’s recommended that traders hold a master copy of forms for instances of fallback.

The only form of CAP fallback is by CIE on C88/ESS’s and C88/ESS (CAP) CIES presented by fax or post to the NCH.

Association of consignments may be made on behalf of traders by the NES Helpdesk in Cardiff.

15.3 Documents to be retained by traders

Traders using fallback should retain a copy of the C88/ESS and a copy of the C1402 undertaking. On recovery, the information is to be input to CHIEF and if CHIEF rejects the data the entry may be suitably amended and all the changes notified to the NCH on the copy of the undertaking.

15.4 Customs actions during fallback

Entries submitted during fallback will be face vetted and validated as far as possible by customs. If satisfied the entry will be given a fallback reference number and the undertaking attached to the C88/ESS. The C130EX will be issued showing the NCH reference number for control purposes where deemed necessary.

If systems recover before the shipment of goods takes place any NES entry made will replace the manual clearance previously given. In these circumstances, the C130EX should be retained by the shipper and the entry reference number noted on the form.

After shipment, customs will interrogate the system to ensure that suitable electronic entries have been made. A reasonable amount of time will be given to agents who have NES entries outstanding. Once the systems recover electronic entries must be made within 7 days. Action will be considered where there is evidence that no NES declaration has been entered into CHIEF within this time.

15.5 Uncleared Direct Trader Input (DTI) export entries

There may be occasions where goods are entered to CHIEF exports yet fallback measures are introduced prior to release, for example, examinations. In these circumstances the consignment may be released using a C130EX. The loader should send a ‘goods departed’ message to CHIEF on resumption of the service.

15.6 Clearance of goods not subject to NES procedures

Goods not subject to NES controls may be released using a C130EX. Traders who use a C21 (CHIEF format IECR) for non-NES consignments, for example, inventory control purposes, may enter details to CHIEF (once the system is restored). The use of a C21 (IECR) is not mandatory during fallback for non NES traffic.

16. National Clearance Hub (NCH) interim CHIEF export fallback arrangements

This information forms the basis of how the NCH will deal with CHIEF outages for exports. It is considered a short term solution in the absence of ‘agreed’ national fallback arrangements.

This will not cover every eventuality and therefore the NCH roster duty manager, in conjunction with NCH senior management, will still have the authority to deal with any situation that arises in the most appropriate manner.

16.1 Timescales

All of the procedures listed refer to short term fallback only and will allow for the manual processing of goods during CHIEF downtime.

Short term fallback is for outages of up to 4 hours only. Any system disruption that continues for over 4 hours will require further detailed arrangements. Long term fallback requires Grade 7 approval or above, and the decision to invoke this will be made by either an NCH or customs senior manager.

16.2 Exports short term fallback

For the first 4 hours of any outage the NCH will only clear entries as follows.

Under 1 hour

On presentation of entry paperwork or a completed C1402F fallback request, C130EX manual release note, manual C88/ESS and supporting docs, clearance will be given to life or death consignments only.

After 2 hours

MoU operators1 will be allowed to send goods of a value less than £2,000 and not restricted or covered by a licence.

The NCH will not require sight of the paperwork prior to export.

For the port of Dover only after 2 hours the NCH will liaise with Border Force and put in place a local fallback arrangement which Border Force will manage.

All other exports are to be sent to the NCH for clearance and will need a completed C1402F fallback request, C130EX manual release note, manual C88/ESS and supporting docs.

Priority will continue to be given to life or death consignments and then to airfreight traffic.

16.3 Emergency NCH Contact Number(s)

NCH Help Desk, Telephone: 0845 001 0085

NCH Fax: 0800 496 0699

Email NCHLAP@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

The NCH senior managers will take responsibility for liaising with customs CHIEF operations, Aspire and IMS live services and will communicate updates back to the NCH duty manager.

17. Completion of manual form C88/ESS (SAD)

The form C88/ESS can be completed using a computer, typewriter or word processor.

In the top left hand corner of box 2 of the form there is an alignment box. If the first character is typed or printed carefully in that box the form will be correctly aligned for completion by typewriter or word processor.

Completion of the form by hand is acceptable, provided it is legibly printed in ink using block capitals.

There must be no erasures or overwriting on the forms. Alterations must be made by crossing out the incorrect details and, where necessary, adding those required. Alterations made in this way must be initialled by the person making them. Where it is necessary customs will require a fresh declaration.

When continuation sheets are used any ‘description of goods’ boxes, for example box 31 are not completed they must be crossed through.

Find detailed instructions on how to complete each box of the C88/ESS (SAD).

Share this article