back to article Launched the year Netscape Navigator was born, the UK's CHIEF customs system finally has a retirement date

The UK's Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system is set to retire in 2023, according to a National Audit Office, 10 years after plans to phase it out began and 29 years after it came into service. CHIEF was due to be replaced by the IBM-built Customs Declaration Service (CDS) in 2019, but delays and Brexit …

  1. W.S.Gosset

    composite goods into GB that contain alcohol and mineral oils

    Delicious with a twist of lemon and a dash of brake fluid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: composite goods into GB that contain alcohol and mineral oils

      Personally I prefer a dash of transmission fluid - brake fluid can be bit too bitter.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: composite goods into GB that contain alcohol and mineral oils

      > workarounds will be required for some low-volume declarations, for example on importing composite goods into GB that contain alcohol

      Stuff your brake-fluid G&T - that description also includes chocolate liqueurs - I can't survive Christmas without those.

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: composite goods into GB that contain alcohol and mineral oils

      The petrol you buy at your local petrol station contains a mixture of alcohol and mineral oils, so it is not exactly a niche product.

  2. PermissionToSpeakPlease

    Plenty of time to go wrong

    "HMRC plans to complete key CDS development work by January 2022"

    That's 11 more working weeks of development work. Easily enough to lead to a 12 month delay.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Plenty of time to go wrong

      You really need to rein in this unbridled optimism.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Plenty of time to go wrong

        Indeed. From working on another country's' import system, I can say from experience that Murphys Law will be on steroids, meth and strong black coffee. Load testing that works well in test, system locking solid on solid on real data, clients who do not RTFM and get mailbombed off the planet, feral software requiring serious cunning to efficiently clean up millions of empty temp files daily, sequential file number generation that creates duplicates, multiple OS. It did succeed eventually, but only because the coal face crew were the best I have worked with, both OS and software SMEs. Even the security people were rational and AFAIK, effective. Was that also IBM in the mix ? Cue standard cries of despair

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Light Blue Touch Paper and Retire is Sound Advice whenever Handling FireWorX that Work AWEsomely*

    "There were no major systems or process failures, which is a significant achievement given the complexity and scale of the arrangements required," the NAO said.

    A default result available to any and all and sundry with major systems and processes not practically tested and virtually challenged remotely and effectively somewhat anonymously, too.

    The article [Thanks, Lindsay Clark] and that result would suggest that major tests to be passed lie in travels and travails ahead, yet to be attempted and overtaken in search of supplies of a positive outcome, and ideally available with zero negative feedback and/or parasitic blowback guaranteed.

    Now that is One Almighty Opportunistic Field of Absolutely Fabulous Fabless Endeavour[s] where Everyone/Everything is Assured and Insured and Ensured to Receive a Great Deal More than they Ever Bargained For or maybe even Agreed Upon or Thought At All Possible and Certain Too and Therefore Most Probable and Highly Likely.

    All Soldiers know that Instruction Keeps One Alive and Fighting Fit for Another Great Day in which to Perform and Deliver Front Line Goods to the Ready and Needy Full Prepared for Future ACTion with AWEsome Abilities/Facilities/Utilities.

    Here’s an AWEsome* Mix ....... Take your pick ...... ........

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought VME was Virtual Memory Environment, and came as the successor to DME Dual Memory Environment as ICL rolled out the 1900 series. Perhaps I'm getting too old and my memory is fading.....

    Wasn't CHIEF done by BT as one of the first out sourcing deals from what was HMC&E? I seem to remember it all started around 1990 or there abouts....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      CHIEF was being designed in 1990 and was to run on ICL 2900 kit, replacing the then-current system which was on ICL 1900s. I and a colleague were working on an unrelated system at the time, but were called in to help with the first major review of the CHIEF data structure.

      This review revealed that at least one of the analysts had specified a mandatory rates table but didn't have a clue where that mandatory data was going to come from.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Are you sure 2nd AC? I was working there at the time and was pretty sure we were moving from 1900s to 2900s.

        I seem to remember some involvement with CHIEF but mostly a lot of bitching about it. My team were more involved in the design of I recall.

        It's been a long time since I've thought about IDMSX, realm scans, QBF, CAFS, OSLAN, database diaries, Alex House, the in house mag RabbIT....

    2. djdel

      VME = Virtual Machine Environment, the native operating system for 2900 / Series 39. DME = Direct Machine Environment, this turns your 2900 into a 1900 (or System 4). CME = Concurrent Machine Environment, allows running both 2900 and 1900/System 4 environments at the same time. CME* is similar to CME but the DME environment runs inside a virtual machine on VME instead of being side by side.

      1. David Roberts


        Just a quick shout out for Leo 326 under DME.

        One of the more niche implementations.

  5. nsld

    Ready for Brexit

    By imposing no checks or controls at the border, and even then the costs and time to generate 48 million additional declarations have massively increased costs and barriers to trade.

    Then add in the £17B drop in UK export value in 3 months, so much success!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why hasn’t it been replaced with a spreadsheet ?

    Did no government "friend" offer?

    Put in "one drive" and you can claim it's an off site "cloud" application.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Why hasn’t it been replaced with a spreadsheet ?


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