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Department for International Trade: Databases

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN 138970, tabled on 18 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many information gateways there are in operation in her Department; and how those gateways are managed and monitored.

Answered on

26 January 2021

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has a 2 key information gateways in place. One with the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and one with the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

DIT has a legal gateway to receive and access HMRC data via a Memorandum of Understanding. This has been granted under sections 18 of the Commissioner for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 and section 25 of the Taxation (Crossborder Trade) Act 2018. This gives DIT access to HMRC data including (but not limited to) Customs Declarations data with Director level sign-off for the monitoring and investigation of unfair trade. Access is limited to colleagues in the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate that provide digital and operational support to the directorate. The movement, use and destruction of the data must be in line with HM Government’s Security Policy Framework.

The Trade (Disclosure of Information) Act 2022 underwent Royal Assent in December 2020. The Act includes a data sharing clause that allows DIT (and other departments) the opportunity to request data held by HMRC for the purposes of trade. We are currently working closely with HMRC to agree what data can be shared, how it will be shared and held safely on DIT systems and agree protocols on data usage.

DIT also has 4 Data Access Agreements in place with the ONS. This gives access to: the Inter-Departmental Business Register, the Labour Force Survey, the Annual Population Survey and Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings to approved individuals in this agreement for the purposes specified within the agreements. Access is restricted to approved individuals via an agreed secure analytical environment and managed by the DIT Microdata team. Records are kept of users and their access arrangements as well as the work that they are undertaking and outputs produced. The processing of these data must be for statistical purposes and in accordance with Data Protection Legislation including the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007). All outputs must meet the criteria and Principles established in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics set out by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA).

Finally, over the summer DIT supported HMRC and other departments with engagement with businesses for the end of transition, with a Memorandum of Understanding to cover data sharing. This included using data provided by HMRC, the legal basis for which was Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act Section 18(2) with trader consent. This work is now complete.