NCA gets tough on consent

Because I am such a structured sort of person myself (big excitement last week, for instance, when the 2015 wall planner went up), I very much like the UK’s consent timetable.  That’s not what anyone else calls it, I daresay, but I mean the thing that says that once you make a SAR to the NCA, they have seven workings days in which to respond, and if they say no they then have a further 31 calendar days in which to make a final decision.  (If you’re as thrilled by that as I am, you can read all about it here.)  But it seems that some rascally people have been misusing the system, and so the NCA has had to take a Stern Line (excellent name for a German ferry company, don’t you think) on it.

Last month, they put out a short but very significant document entitled “Closure of cases requiring consent”.  In this, they commented that – to their horror – the turnaround time for SAR responses has been rising steadily.  When it comes to consent SARs, this is obviously quite serious: there’s the poor MLRO on pins, trying to keep his impatient and increasingly curious client on hold while the NCA makes its decision.  But it turns out that consent SARs are often hoist by their own petard: the reason that the NCA cannot make a timely decision is that the crucial bits of information are missing.  In fact, the NCA says that “the cause behind delays in the turnaround of consent requests is the non-inclusion
of the five essential elements of a submission property”.  So from 15 September 2014 – that’s Monday – the NCA will be automatically rejecting “those consents which are missing reasons for suspicion or a statement regarding criminal property” and simply closing the case.  Of course the MLRO can re-submit the consent request, with the required crucial bits of information, but this causes even further stressful and embarrassing delay.  Best to get it right first time.  From Monday, everyone.

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