The UK Target Operating Model
Proposed in 2020, the UK Target Operating Model is a key part of the 2025 UK Border Strategy, designed to strengthen our borders. But what does that mean for you? Find out in this article.
The Purpose of the 2025 UK Border Strategy
The 2025 UK Border Strategy sets out to reinvent the current operating model using real-time data and advanced trader schemes, allowing for heightened security where it matters and reduced delays at the border for those who have proven their compliance.
To achieve this, the UK Government have planned six transformational phases that allow the strategy to be executed over a series of year.
The 2025 UK Border Strategy outlines these six phases as follows:
2025 UK Border Strategy Transformation 1:
Develop a coordinated user-centric government approach to border design and delivery, which works in partnership with industry and enables border innovation.
2025 UK Border Strategy Transformation 2:
Bring together the government’s collection, assurance and use of border data to provide a comprehensive and holistic view of data at the border.
2025 UK Border Strategy Transformation 3:
Establish resilient ‘ports of the future’ at border crossing points to make the experience smoother and more secure for passengers and traders, while better protecting the public and environment.
2025 UK Border Strategy Transformation 4:
Use upstream compliance to move processes away from the actual frontier where appropriate, both for passengers and traders.
2025 UK Border Strategy Transformation 5:
Build the capability of staff and the border industry responsible for delivering border processes, particularly in an environment of greater automation; and simplify communication with border users to improve their experience.
2025 UK Border Strategy Transformation 6:
Shape the future development of borders worldwide, to promote the UK’s interests and facilitate end-to-end trade and travel.
This plan allows tests to be performed, stakeholders to have their input, and minimal disruption to trade as businesses and authorities adjust to each new implementation of regulations.
Where does the UK Target Operating Model (TOM) fit into the 2025 UK Border Strategy?
The UK Target Operating Model is an initiative working within and alongside the 2025 UK Border Strategy, which focuses on aligning and advancing the protocols for importing goods from countries both inside and outside of the EU. The reason for the current misalignment is Brexit.
Since the UK left the single market, they have needed to slowly disengage from the old ways of trading with the EU from when they were members of the single market. This has drastically affected traders, and the continuous delays of new phases for EU goods left the industry frustrated as customs brokers, importers and exporters were swept up in the turbulence.
Since the final delay of new health checks, those industries affected have eagerly awaited news on the Single Trade Window, the UK Target Operating Model, and other initiatives such as the Ecosystem of Trust.
In April, the first draft of the UK Target Operating Model was published for feedback. The proposal outlined three significant milestones for import checks:
UK Target Operating Model 31st January 2024 milestone:
The introduction of health certification on imports of medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products and high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin from the EU.
UK Target Operating Model 30th April 2024 milestone:
The introduction of documentary and risk-based identity and physical checks on medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products and high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin from the EU. At this point, imports of Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods from the rest of the world will begin to benefit from the Target Operating Model. Existing inspections of high-risk plants/plant products from the EU will move from destination to BCPs.
UK Target Operating Model 31st October 2024 milestone:
Safety and Security declarations for EU imports will come into force on 31st October 2024. Alongside this, a reduced dataset will be introduced for imports and the use of the UK Single Trade Window will remove duplication where possible across different pre-arrival datasets – such as Safety and Security, Sanitary and Phytosanitary, and pre-lodged customs declarations.
These three milestones allow for controlled implementation, utilisation and development of the new real-time data and risk-targeting systems whilst giving all participants time to prepare. Once adopted, the UK Target Operating Model is designed to use evidence to provide additional security whilst rewarding traders who are compliant.
There is a consultation period following the release of the UK Target Operating Model draft, followed by a pre-implementation period if the proposal is successful.
Commenting on the proposal, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce William Bain said:
“The British Chambers of Commerce is a big believer in the shift to a digital trade system. If it is done properly, then smaller firms will see benefits when it comes to importing goods into Great Britain.”
“Providing certainty for business is crucial and the focus must now be on delivering to the timescales set out. This will need a concerted effort to get the physical and digital infrastructure in place.”
“It is then vital that companies, here and across the world, involved in sourcing and supply chains, are properly prepared for these changes and the introduction of new trusted trader arrangements.”
“We look forward to engaging with our members and businesses across the UK on the details during the six-week consultation period ahead and the pre-implementation period thereafter, as well as the Government, to ensure the switchover runs as smoothly as possible.”
Want to know more about the UK Target Border Operating Model or the 2025 UK Border Strategy?
Customs Support is directly involved in providing feedback to HMRC regarding the implementation of new border strategies, with our trusted experts working with the industry to empower global trade with the UK.
If you’d like to know more about how the UK Target Operating Model will affect you, contact one of our team for a consultation today.
Updated - 06.09.2023