Obtaining and recording information
We may obtain and record, in any way, information relating to any premises, property, goods, assets and documents that we inspect. We can also mark business assets, and anything contained in them, for the purposes of indicating that they have been inspected.
We have the power to ask questions to obtain information relating to things we inspect but you are not obliged to answer any such questions. We cannot use the power to ask wider questions.
If the inspection was approved by the tribunal, your refusal to provide information relating to the things we inspect may make you liable to a penalty for deliberately obstructing an inspection (see RSTP2027). If the inspection was not approved by the tribunal then we will need to consider whether to issue an information notice (see RSTP2002) to require you to provide the information.
The same restrictions that apply to information notices (see RSTP2009) also apply to obtaining and recording information during an inspection.
Documents - copying, taking extracts and removal
We may copy, take extracts from or remove documents produced to, or inspected by us (see below for more information).
We cannot inspect a document whilst carrying out an inspection if an information notice (see RSTP2002) issued at the time of the inspection could not require the occupier of the premises to produce the document (see RSTP2009 for restrictions applying to information notices).
The person the document belongs to does not have to allow us to use their copying facilities. If the person has no objection to us using their copying facilities, it is often the simplest approach to ask them to copy the document. Where possible, we will seek to agree copying arrangements in advance.
Where it has not been possible to make copying arrangements in advance, we will need to consider how we are going to take copies if necessary during the inspection. It may be possible to take suitable copying equipment, but a more practical solution may be to remove the documents to be copied, copy them at the office and return them.
Extracts from documents
Making an extract means copying only part of a document or recording the information in the document onto other media.
We can remove and retain a document (or a copy of a document) produced to or inspected by us. The conditions are that the document is removed at a reasonable time, retained for a reasonable period (the minimum period needed for us to complete the tasks for which it was removed) and that this happens only where we consider it necessary to do so.
If we remove a document and the person who produced it to us requests a receipt or a copy of the document, we must do this without charge.
The removal of a document does not break any lien (a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation) claimed on the document.
If a part of the document is covered by one of the restrictions listed in RSTP2009, removing the whole document could compromise that restriction. We can instead make an extract or copy of the whole document with the restricted part covered.
If a document which has been removed is lost or damaged, we must compensate the owner of the document for any expenses reasonably incurred in replacing or repairing the document.
- you are required to produce a document to us; or
- we have the power to inspect, copy, remove or take extracts from a document,
then we can, at any reasonable time, obtain access to, inspect and check the operation of any computer and associated apparatus or material which is or has been used in connection with that document. We can require you to provide reasonable assistance in carrying this out.
Any request for assistance from you should be proportionate to the need for us to exercise this power and should not impose an undue burden on you. You may argue that the cost of providing reasonable assistance is in itself unreasonable.
Some businesses choose to outsource their Information Technology requirements to an outside agency and pay the agency for this service. Other businesses choose to retain this service in-house. In either case, our right to request information from you or your business remains the same.
If you obstruct us in exercising this power, or fail to provide any required assistance within a reasonable time, you are liable to a penalty. See RSTP3004 for further guidance.