Memorandum by HM Customs and Excise
In his evidence given on 14 November 2001, the
Chairman said (Questions 128, 129, 132 and 134) he would review
the background checks carried out before an applicant to be an
authorised warehousekeeper is registered.
The Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused
Goods Regulations 1999 (WOWGR), which came into effect in October
1999 require that:
goods may only be held in duty suspension
in an excise warehouse if an authorised warehousekeeper has been
registered in respect of that warehouse (as well as the premises
having been approved); and
owners who wish to deposit goods
in an excise warehouse (or buy warehoused goods) must either be
registered or appoint a Duty Representative to act on their behalf.
Following these Regulations, Customs performs
a number of background checks, prior to registration, using a
variety of both internal Customs and other sources (such as Companies
House information). These checks provide Customs with an assessment
of the suitability of each applicant and we only authorise those
applicants who meet our requirements. In particular, we will not
approve anyone who (at the time of applying) has an "unspent"
conviction under The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (other
than minor motoring offences) or has accepted a compounded settlement
from Customs during the preceding 3 years.
In May 2001, as part of a review of registration
procedures, Customs introduced new measures designed to tighten
up the system, most notably:
A mandatory pre-approval visit; and
post authorisation visits to be carried
out after three months.
The pre-approval visit will allow Customs to:
Ascertain whether that the applicant
is a fit and proper person to hold the authorisation;
confirm there is a genuine commercial
need for the authorisation;
obtain details of the applicant's
customer base; and
ensure the trader's system will comply
with The Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992.
A decision whether to authorise or not will
only be made once all the necessary checks have been carried out
We have been monitoring authorisations reviewed
since the introduction of the new measures in May 2001. The information
is given in the table below.
MAY 2001 TO OCTOBER 2001
* Some of these will have been revoked because the trader is no
longer in business but had not notified us.
We are satisfied that, taken together with post-registration
procedures, the checks currently undertaken on all applicants
do address the potential risks, although we will continue to review
and monitor our authorisation procedures and make improvements
17 December 2001