Eight Charter Marks for excellent Public Services have today been awarded to Customs and Excise – twice as many as in any previous year.

Dawn Primarolo, Paymaster General said:
“Collecting tax and classifying goods under the tariff are difficult but essential jobs which receive little public recognition – however without tax there would be no public services such as schools, hospitals and the police, and our society could not function. We depend on the hard working staff of Customs and Excise to carry out these functions with the minimum of fuss and disruption to the businesses who create the wealth we all enjoy in this country.
“Providing excellent public services is a key feature in the Modernising Government programme and for Customs and Excise to have twice as many winners than in any previous year is a great credit to the Department. The awards are announced on the same day that Richard Broadbent begins work as the new Chairman of Customs and Excise and he joins me in congratulating all the people who work in the teams recognised in these awards.”

Customs and Excise Deputy Chairman, Timothy Walker said:
“This clearly demonstrates the level of commitment to public service that our people are making and it is an achievement which we can rightly be proud of. Our staff are not just doing an essential job, they are doing it well, and in a way that is helpful to both business and the public.”

The teams recognised in these awards are located throughout the UK, being based in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

The winners are:
1. Insolvency Operations at Liverpool;
2. Large VAT Payers Unit, also at Liverpool;
3. Carmarthen Regional VAT Registration Centre, in Wales;
4. The Anglia regional VAT Customer Services Team, based in East Anglia;
5. Operations – Tariff Classification, a branch of the Tariff and Statistical Office, based in Southend;
6. The Northern Ireland Business Advice Unit, based in Belfast;
7. Business Liaison Team, in Birmingham;
8. Cheadle Audit Centre, in Cheadle.

Two other applicants are awarded a “Commended” certificate, falling just short of the overall excellent standard, but still demonstrating a high standard of customer service.

They are:
1. Northern England Business Advice Centre, in Newcastle;
2. Scotland Business Advice Centre, in Glasgow.

Notes to editors:

Information on the winning teams.

Insolvency Operations – Liverpool
The 49 staff help ensure prompt repayments to insolvent traders and their representatives, and maximise VAT compliance and revenue cashflow. Staff mainly deal with qualified professionals known and licensed as Insolvency Practitioners who represent insolvent traders. Other customers include The Insolvency Service (Official Receiver), other Government Departments and colleagues from within Customs.

Large Payers Unit – Liverpool
The 22 staff manage the 14,500 largest VAT payers in the UK who pay 43 billion pounds of VAT- these are businesses whose yearly net VAT payments exceed 300,000 pounds. Staff aim to ensure businesses pay the right amount of VAT on time, and also help ease the VAT compliance burdens on business.

Carmarthen Regional Registration Centre The centre specialises in VAT registration and deregistration applications, receiving over 40,000 applications per year. The 63 staff provide an easily accessible and recognised quality service which includes, in liaison with other agencies, the identification of fraud.

Anglia regional VAT Customer Services Team
The team is responsible for business education and customer services in the Anglia region. Team members operate from offices in Cambridge, Colchester, Harlow, Ipswich, Norwich and Southend. They aim to support and respond to the needs of businesses while encouraging businesses to voluntarily meet their responsibilities.

Northern Ireland Business Advice Unit
The unit provides assistance to businesses and the public on VAT, Customs and Excise duties, Insurance Premium Tax and Landfill tax. It also offers a business education and liaison service.

Business Liaison Team, Birmingham
The team has created and is delivering a rolling national programme of Business Advice Open days. Working with other Government departments, agencies and regulatory bodies, these events provide the diverse spectrum of the business community with a free, ‘one-stop-shop’ opportunity to obtain advice and ease the regulatory burdens of running a small business.

Cheadle Audit Centre, Cheadle
The team carries out VAT, Excise and Inland Customs work and gives the business community written, telephone and counter enquiry services. A business advice team provides further help and advice for business.

Tariff Classification
All imported and exported goods require a tariff classification code to aid the collection of both trade figures and the Customs duty charged on imports from non EC countries. The team provide tariff classification advice to importers, exporters, and customs officers. This includes operating a telephone helpline and issuing binding tariff rulings under European Community (EC) legislation. The service also represents the UK internationally to ensure uniform tariff classification, both within the EC and world-wide.

The commended teams are:
Northern England Advice Centre
The centre provides advice to businesses, the public and other Customs offices on VAT, Customs and excise duties, Landfill tax and Mineral Oil reliefs. It administers Landfill tax and Mineral Oil reliefs activities for the whole of the UK. In partnership with the Inland Revenue it helps provide the national Employers Helpline service. It also organises educational events to support local businesses and the community.

Scotland Business Advice Centre
The centre deals with VAT, Excise and Inland Customs enquiries for Scotland. It receives 10,000 written enquiries and 100,000 telephone calls per annum

This news release and other information about HM Customs & Excise can be found at our website:

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