On 6 February 2020, the Department for International Trade published Notice to Exporters 2020/04 to report that, with immediate effect, the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) has amended its inspection of records process related to the use of open licences and electronic standard individual export licences (SIELS). This process is provided for in Article 31 of the Export Control Order 2008 (as amended), which states that inspections can take place “at any reasonable hour”.

As a result of difficulties in trying to arrange on-site inspections, the ECJU will now inform businesses of the exact date when an inspection of their records will take place and will not offer alternative dates. The ECJU will nevertheless aim to give businesses between four to six weeks’ notice before an inspection.

The Notice states that failure to allow an inspection to take place will be a breach of the Order and HM Revenue & Customs will be informed of this.