UK's import and export processing system CHIEF

Fallback options if CHIEF is unavailable

There may be occasions where the CHIEF system and/or the local computerised inventory control systems are not available. The procedures which will be introduced in these circumstances are known as ‘fallback’.

When connectivity is unavailable for a short period, fallback measures will not necessarily be invoked. But traders may, when directed, use the fallback procedure. Fallback procedures may involve manual processing of declarations and/or other documents by HMRC. There are 2 types of fallback procedures:

  • short term (system not available for up to 24 hours) -short term procedures allow for the manual clearance of goods during fallback but require that the declaration information is later keyed into the computer system
  • long term (system not available for over 24 hours) - long term procedures do not require the declaration information to be keyed in

Once it is confirmed that some 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 one of the 2 fallback plans to enable entry procedures for users of the affected access route only.