Updated guidance from DEFRA for submission of electronic documents

DEFRA has now provided clear guidance to Port Health Authorities in what circumstances electronic documents can be accepted when agents/importers cannot access originals.  Ultimately these changes may affect your business. Please see the updated procedure and ensure you follow DEFRA’s direction (OVS note attached).

In order to accept copy documents via email we have had to develop new procedures. These new procedures have caused a delay to the speed in which we can complete documentary checks and will continue to do so.

When we began to accept electronic documents we anticipated a significant difficulty in obtaining original documents through couriers, however we are not experiencing this. We are still receiving a large number of original documents through couriers many times each day. This is still our preferred option as we have the ability to deal with this type of document more quickly than the electronic copy documents.

No priority will be given to either type – it will be prioritised as usual, however, there may be additional delays to our service if we receive more electronic forms than original documents.

In that regard, if you have the ability to get original documents to us, please continue to do so. If you are experiencing delays in obtaining the original documents but will have them in time to submit them to us prior to the vessel arrival – submit the original documents.

If you are sending electronic documents please only send it to edocs@scpha.gov.uk mailto:edocs@scpha.gov.uk (if you send it to multiple Port Health email addresses this will cause a delay to your consignment) and remember to state why there is a need to send copy documents.

During these unprecedented times please refrain from chasing the release of your consignments either by phone or email – whilst staff search for the current status of your consignment this has an obvious effect on our ability to process the current workload.

Thank you for your cooperation during this time.

Please see the following documents for more information: