Have CCAB not heard of version control?

updated AML, Counter-Terrorist & Counter-Proliferation Financing Guidance for the Accountancy sector

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Probably not the favourite topic of most readers on this site, but I was notified by HMRC this morning that CCAB'S "Accountancy sector guidance for money laundering supervision" had been updated ... so clicked on the GOV.UK 'show all updates' to see *what* has changed:

1 July 2022 - A link to the Accountancy sector guidance for money laundering supervision based on law as of 13 July 2021 has been added. The PDF version of the Accountancy sector guidance for money laundering supervision based on law as of 26 June 2017 has been removed.

20 June 2024 - A link to the accountancy sector guidance for money laundering supervision based on law as of 1 August 2022 has been added.

None the wiser (although noting that they no longer provide a PDF version - because that has a nasty habit of being filed by people), I clicked through to the Guidance itself ... which has the snappy title of "Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist and Counter-Proliferation Financing Guidance for the Accountancy Sector - June 2023".  So either they've not bothered to update that title page, or they've directed me to the non-updated version!

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Which is it?  No idea, since they break the basic minimum standards for Guidance documents ... by not showing a version no (and preferably date) for the document.  And exacerbate that by breaking the second rule of those standards, by not including a 'What's changed' page (ideally with a summary of the changes, but at a minimum with a list of links to the changed sections).

[Really professional sites, like that for LGPS, offer you two links with each version of their guidance - one with 'tracked changes' and one 'clean' - but that's apparently beyond the capability of HMRC ... unless it's just that they don't give a damn about the Accountancy sector?]

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If anyone's wondering why I'm bothering to kick-off about this ... the guidance "has been approved and adopted by all the UK accountancy anti-money laundering supervisory bodies" - and is 142 pages of detailed 'instructions' with which those bodies can therefore beat you over the head for any (unintentional) transgression.

Whether or not you believe this is a good, neccessary thing (or even are merely prepared to try to be compliant) - I feel it should be incumbent on them to make the process of understanding it all as relatively painless as possible ... which is why most professionals adhere to the 'version control' standards I've mentioned.

It is simply not a good use of time/resources to have many tens of thousands of people searching all that wording for "what's bleedin' changed?" ... and so it will be ignored by many!

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https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/anti-money-laundering-guidanc...

Replies (9)

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David Winch
By David Winch
21st Jun 2024 17:14

It will be extremely embarrassing if I am wrong about this - but my understanding is that the latest version of the CCAB AML Guidance was published in June 2023. That guidance is at https://www.ccab.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/AMLGAS-update-June-20... .
There is a document dated May 2022 outlining changes which had been made to the Guidance. That May 2022 document is at https://www.ccab.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Updated-CCAB-AML-Guid...
The June 2023 Guidance says it takes into account changes in the law and regulations up to 1 August 2022.
I understand the amendment made in June 2024 to be only an amendment to the gov.uk page about the CCAB AML Guidance, and not an amendment to the Guidance itself.
So I hear you ask excitedly, "Is the CCAB AML Guidance out of date?". Yes, it is. I am sure it will be updated again before too long.
David
P.S. One of the paras in the guidance which is out of date is para 5.6.9 but I'm confident that everyone who reads this will know the correct current requirements.

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Replying to davidwinch:
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By FactChecker
21st Jun 2024 18:45

Thanks ... I had a feeling that you might be my main (only?) audience for the post!

The good news is that your direct link and the one embedded in the GOV.UK page (per my copy above) both take you to the same June 2023 version of the Guidance - so that's a start.

And it's even better news that CCAB *did* publish a "Updated CCAB AML Guidance – Explanatory notes" even if it's neither easy to find nor mentioned on the GOV.UK page.

But from there it's all downhill ... the CCAB 'what's changed' document doesn't seem to be aligned to each version of their primary Guidance (i.e. where's the equivalent to accompany their June 2023 updated guidance)?
And why did GOV.UK choose to say yesterday that the guidance was updated as at yesterday when apparently it patently hasn't been - although I understand your subtle guesswork on their behalf (which they could easily have made clear).

My central point remains ... if HMRC want the sector to understand the impact of and requirements laid on them by AML, and in support of this promotes the CCAB guidance, then it behoves both of them to follow best practice when publishing updated guidance - version control/tracked changes and clear directions on where to find and understand that guidance.

So far (as so often) it's HMRC 'nul points', but CCAB aren't that far ahead - and taking nearly a year to bring Guidance into line with latest legislation is hardly inspiring.

P.S. I admire your optimism that everyone who reads this will know the correct current requirements once para 5.6.9 is re-written!

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Replying to davidwinch:
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By D V Fields
23rd Jun 2024 20:55

Sadly (?) I was reading this today. The example 2 at page 81 caught my attention.
The spirit of it suggests Cartwright King, Womble Bond Dickinson and Second Sight to name but a few should have reported the Post Office.

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Replying to D V Fields:
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By FactChecker
23rd Jun 2024 21:09

Interesting ... but I fear they could easily walk away from the required criteria:

"Know or suspect that the client intends to dishonestly retain the overpayments. Reasons for such a belief may include:
o The client omits overpayments from statements of account; or
o The client credits the profit and loss account without making any attempt to contact the overpaying party."

WE know that was what the client (P.O.) was doing - but the P.O. would simply continue with their line that they didn't consider (or weren't aware) that there *were* any overpayments ... so there was nothing to include/omit of this type from their accounts.

That's the 'power' (aka corrupting influence) of the defence based on 'but we didn't know that then' - and don't Vennells, Christou et all know it!

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Replying to D V Fields:
David Winch
By David Winch
23rd Jun 2024 21:57

D V Fields wrote:

The spirit of it suggests Cartwright King, Womble Bond Dickinson and Second Sight to name but a few should have reported the Post Office.


Cartwright King and Womble Bond Dickinson are firms of lawyers providing legal advice - so not in the 'regulated sector' when doing that (so not obliged to report suspicions of money laundering by others).
Second Sight are forensic accountants - and so are in the regulated sector when doing that work. Without knowing more I couldn't say whether PoCA privilege would apply but it seems likely that it would, see para 6.5.22 of the CCAB AML guidance for the accountancy sector. No report should be made based on information obtained in privileged circumstances.
"Information or other matter comes to a professional legal adviser or relevant professional adviser in privileged circumstances if it is communicated or given to him ... by a person in connection with legal proceedings or contemplated legal proceedings." s330 PoCA 2002
David
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Replying to davidwinch:
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By D V Fields
24th Jun 2024 09:55

Thank you, had presumed legal firms were caught by the regulations but now see that it depends upon the services provided. Am sure they have enough to be worrying about at the moment!

Not sure I fully understood the sentence in its context “In these circumstances and as long as the information was not provided with the intention of advancing a crime, then the information must not be reported.”

Interestingly Professor Richard Moorhead stated “Litigation and legal advice privilege is granted so people can be properly advised, and can properly prepare for litigation, not so they can conceal unhelpful facts or render them safe. That privilege operates to allow the non-disclosure of unhelpful evidence is a corollary of, but not the meaning of, privilege.”

It would seem that details of transactional suspense account entries were deliberately not being provided with the intention of continuing the crime of extorting monies from sub postmasters and mistresses and / or concealing the fact that it had taken place. This would in my view make it reportable and similarly it would be difficult to class such documentation for the purpose of seeking advice.

I believe but may be wrong that the Post Office were using the Non Disclosure Agreements as a way to silence Second Sight (especially when privilege failed) which wouldn’t prevent them from reporting.

We are not to know whether they did or didn’t or indeed needed to, but perhaps if the example remains valid then maybe the attention should turn to the auditors.

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Replying to D V Fields:
David Winch
By David Winch
24th Jun 2024 10:08

We are going to get a bit technical here, sorry! Professor Moorhead would, I believe, be referring to legal professional privilege under common law. LPP applies only to lawyers. Second Sight would be concerned with PoCA privilege which derives from statute - and specifically s330 PoCA 2002.
PoCA privilege "does not apply to information or other matter which is communicated or given with the intention of furthering a criminal purpose". So you have to consider whether the information which was supplied to Second Sight was communicated with the intention of furthering a criminal purpose.
David

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Replying to davidwinch:
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By D V Fields
24th Jun 2024 10:50

Yes it was in respect of Anthony de Garr Robinson KC's evidence at the Inquiry. I understand your differentiation now as I was wrongly overlapping the two. If I follow then as the information was “not given” then it doesn’t pass or meet the test criterion. Back to the auditors then.
Thank you.

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By FactChecker
23rd Jun 2024 20:56

Anyone who's interested or worried by the difficulty of keeping up with changing AML guidance should buckle-up and read the post by David from the day after this one of mine ... https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/are-hmrc-aml-late-registrati... ... and follow the tale as it unwinds through the subsequent comments.

Warning: may not be suitable for those of a nervous disposition!

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