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Published:  23 July, 2008

Unannounced visits

Customs & Excise has announced that it is to step up excise holding and movement, which will involve "a much greater presence and visibility of control staff, unannounced visiting, and physical checks of goods entering/leaving warehouses". The increase in scrutiny will extend to the accuracy of accompanying documentation and the security of loads. In a letter to the Bonded Warehousekeepers' Association, Nigel Sheffield of the Holding and Movement Team, Excise Operations said: "Every excise warehouse can expect to receive unannounced visits from Customs' control staff as part of this new programme, but the frequency of such checks will be driven by risk assessment and will take into account previous compliance history." The new controls are expected to be operational nationally by early autumn. The Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise have also pledged to improve their complaints handling. In welcoming Dame Barbara Mills' Adjudicator's Annual Report on complaints, Inland Revenue chairman Nick Montagu said: "We are totally committed to providing the best possible service to our customers. Inevitably, we sometimes fall short: where we do, we aim to deal with a complaint quickly and fairly ourselves. We are making real progress, as the 18% fall in complaints going to the adjudicator this year shows." Customs & Excise chairman Richard Broadbent said: "We see complaints as an opportunity to try to improve our service to both businesses and the public. "If we make a mistake, we undertake to apologise, put things right and take steps to prevent a recurrence of the problem." Inland Revenue enquiries: 020 7438 6420/6425. Customs & Excise advice line: 0845 010 9000.