This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'List of accounts in the Government Banking Service'.


 
 
 
           

 
 
 
 
Teresa Chance 
Central Policy - Freedom of Information 
1C/25 
100 Parliament Street 
 
 
London  SW1A 2BQ 
 
By email to: 
 
 
Francis Irving 
Tel 
  
 
[FOI #36547 email] 
 
 
Fax 
020 7147 0666 
 
 
 
Email          
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Date 
2 July 2010 
www.hmrc.gov.uk 
 
Our Ref 
FOI 1699/10 
 
Your Ref 
           
 
________ 
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Mr Irving 
Freedom of Information Act 2000 
I refer to your request, which HMRC received on 4 June 2010, for the following information:  
I understand the HMRC runs the Government Banking Service (GBS). 
      
Can you please send me a list of the accounts that are in the GBS. 
     For each account, please give the following information: 
      
     * The public authority the account is for, e.g. "MHRA" 
     * The account name, e.g. "GBS Re MHRA" 
     * Any other description of the account you have available 
     * The bank the account is with, e.g. "Citibank" 
 
 
Background 
 

The Government Banking Service was launched on 19 May 2008.  It incorporates the Office 
of HM Paymaster General (OPG), which was transferred to HMRC from HM Treasury in 
April 2006. The Government Banking Service is a shared service, offering banking services 
to around 900 government departments, agencies and other public bodies. ‘Government 
Banking’ refers to the banking services that departments and other public bodies need to 
conduct their business, i.e. when they pay their customers, employees and suppliers or 
when they receive payments (usually described as “transaction services”).  The Government 
Banking Service has procured banking services with two banks: the Royal Bank of Scotland 
Group (RBSG) and Citigroup (Citi). 
 
Information is available in large print, audio tape and Braille formats. 
Type Talk service prefix number – 18001 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
HMRC Response 
 
I am answering under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).  Extracts of 
the relevant sections of the legislation cited in this letter are copied in the appendix at the 
foot of this letter.  I can confirm that HMRC holds the information you have requested but I 
consider that the information is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA.  The exemptions 
which I am relying on are absolute exemptions under section 2(3) of the FOIA.  This means 
that I am not required to consider any public interest arguments for and against disclosure.     
Section 21 
Some information within the scope of your request is exempt under s21(1) of the FOIA 
because it is information which is already reasonably available to you. 
Some public authorities publish information about their own accounts with the Government 
Banking Service.  For example, HMRC itself provides some information about how 
Employers such as government departments and health authorities who have an account 
with the Government Banking Service can make payments of PAYE Tax to HMRC. 
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/paye.htmhttp://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/paye.htm
#10 
Similarly, HM Courts Service provides details of how to make payments via the Government 
Banking Service. 
http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/7741.htm 
Section 23 
Some of the information within the scope of your request is exempt from disclosure under 
s23(1) of the FOIA which exempts information supplied by or relating to bodies dealing with 
security matters.  
Section 41 
Some of the information within the scope of your request is exempt from disclosure under 
s41(1) of the FOIA since it is information provided to HMRC in confidence.  Information 
provided to HMRC by agencies and other public bodies is covered by this exemption.  
Section 44 
All of the information within the scope of your request is exempt from disclosure under 
s44(1)(a) of the FOIA which exempts information if its disclosure is prohibited by or under 
any enactment.  
Section 18(1) of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA) provides 
that Revenue and Customs Officials may not disclose information which is held by the 
Revenue and Customs in connection with a function of HMRC.  Under Article 3 of the 
Transfer of Functions (Office of Her Majesty's Paymaster General) Order 2006, the following 
functions of the Paymaster General were transferred to HMRC:  
(a) functions relating to the administration and oversight of the Office of Her Majesty's 
Paymaster General; 
 
(b) powers to authorise or require action by or in relation to that Office, for the purpose of 
discharging a duty or liability of the Paymaster General or for any other purpose. 

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20060607.htm 
The Government Banking Service account information you are seeking is held in connection 
with these functions.  Section 23(1) CRCA further provides that, where information falling in 
section 18(1) relates to a ‘person’ who is identified or who could be identified, the exemption 
in section 44(1) (a) FOIA applies.  ‘Person’ includes both living persons and legal entities 

 
 
 
 
such as, in this case, public authorities (see paragraph 110 of the explanatory notes to the 
CRCA). 
Therefore, to engage the section 44 FOIA exemption we consider ‘Is the information held by 
us for one of our functions?’ and ‘Does it relate to an identifiable person?’ If the answer to 
both the questions is ‘yes’, the information is exempt from the right to information under 
FOIA.  The fact that some of the information you have requested may already be in the 
public domain does not change HMRC’s statutory duty of confidentiality in respect of this 
information.     
Other exemptions 
 
In addition to the exemptions relied on in this response, I consider that other qualified 
exemptions are also engaged with regard to the information you have requested.  
Specifically, I consider that sections 28(1) and 29(1) of the FOIA are engaged.  Since the 
information requested is exempt under absolute exemptions, I have not set out here the 
reasons why we consider prejudice might arise, or the relevant public interest considerations 
in respect of these qualified exemptions.       
If you are not happy with this reply you may request a review by writing to HMRC FOI Team, 
Room 1C/25, 100 Parliament Street London SWIA 2BQ or by e-mail to 
[email address]. You must request a review within 2 months of the date of this 
letter. It would assist our review if you set out which aspects of the reply concern you and 
why you are dissatisfied. 
If you are not content with the outcome of an internal review, you may apply directly to the 
Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner will not usually 
consider a case unless you have exhausted the internal review procedure provided by 
HMRC. He can be contacted at The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, 
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. 
Yours sincerely 
 
 
Teresa Chance 
 
 
Appendix 
 
 
Legislation relevant to disclosures under FOIA 
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000 
 
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000036_en_1 
2 Effect of the exemptions in Part II  
 (2) In respect of any information which is exempt information by virtue of any provision of 
Part II, section 1(1)(b) does not apply if or to the extent that—  

(a) the information is exempt information by virtue of a provision conferring absolute 
exemption, or  

(b) in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption 
outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  

(3) For the purposes of this section, the following provisions of Part II (and no others) are to 
be regarded as conferring absolute exemption—  

(a) section 21,  
(b) section 23,  
…. 

 
 
 
 
(g) section 41, and  
(h) section 44.  
 
PART II EXEMPT INFORMATION  
21 Information accessible to applicant by other means  
(1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under section 
1 is exempt information.  

23 Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters  
(1) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it was directly or indirectly 
supplied to the public authority by, or relates to, any of the bodies specified in subsection (3). 

41 Information provided in confidence  
(1) Information is exempt information if—  
(a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person (including another public 
authority), and  

(b) the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise than under this Act) by the 
public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any 
other person. 

 
44 Prohibitions on disclosure  
 
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure (otherwise than under this Act) by the 
public authority holding it—  
(a) is prohibited by or under any enactment,  
(b) is incompatible with any Community obligation, or  
(c) would constitute or be punishable as a contempt of court.  
 
Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005  
 
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2005/ukpga_20050011_en_1 
 
18 Confidentiality  
(1) Revenue and Customs officials may not disclose information which is held by the 
Revenue and Customs in connection with a function of the Revenue and Customs. 
 
23 Freedom of information  
(1) Revenue and customs information relating to a person, the disclosure of which is 
prohibited by section 18(1), is exempt information by virtue of section 44(1)(a) of the 
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 36) (prohibitions on disclosure) if its disclosure—  
(a) would specify the identity of the person to whom the information relates, or  
(b) would enable the identity of such a person to be deduced.  
(2) Except as specified in subsection (1), information the disclosure of which is prohibited by 
section 18(1) is not exempt information for the purposes of section 44(1)(a) of the Freedom 
of Information Act 2000.  
(3) In subsection (1) “revenue and customs information relating to a person” has the same 
meaning as in section 19.