CHIEF Replacement - Customs Declaration Services (CDS) - What do we know at the moment?

Friday 21st October 2016

CHIEF, the stalwart of Customs declarations in the UK for decades is to be replaced. Rather than create a system from scratch, HMRC are sourcing an off the shelf product (in fact 2 - one is a tariff product, the other is a declaration processing system).

The EU Referendum result inserted a rather large spanner into the works of the contract process (they were supposed to sign the contract with the declaration system provider the day after the referendum!) as the future landscape may well change significantly (Current CHIEF operating capacity 100 -150million declarations per year - potential post-Brexit volumes estimated at 300-350 million declarations per year) further discussions were had with the potential supplier.

The contract with the chosen provider - IBM - was signed a couple of weeks ago. IBM Declaration Management General Presentation

As with any large IT project, plans will no doubt change, but what to we (kind of) know now is;

  • Access to the system will be managed using OAuth2 security and credential standards OAuth Wiki Page
  • The messages to and from the declaration processing component (IBM) will be XML or JSON rather than EDIFACT XML Wiki Page JSON Wiki Page
  • The development of CDS is being run by HMRC as an Agile project - that is to say it is a continual development and drop process rather than a "here is the final spec, now code it" approach Agile Wiki Page
  • The "go Live" approach is one of phased migration, with complete migration of declarations to CDS in early 2019
  • Supplementary Declarations are seen as an area that can be tested and migrated before other declaration types due to the fact they are essentially "ring fenced" and provide the highest volume and/or risk to the project

We live in interesting times.