Opening and Working Enquiries: Avoiding Delay
You should do everything possible to minimise delays on your own part as well as the customer’s. If you need to consider particularly involved or voluminous information, or if you are waiting for information from a third party, some delay may be inevitable. In these circumstances you should inform the customer(s) in writing that there is likely to be a delay, and tell them the date by which you expect to be able to contact them again.
You should build in to your plans for working your cases, any likely delays you can anticipate, for example annual leave, jury service etc. You should avoid, if possible, setting a deadline for the provision of information which coincides with the early stages of your leave. Specify a date a week or two later than usual, if appropriate, and make a note on TCW to explain why you have done so (see TCW Guidance).
There will of course be some delays you could not have anticipated - for example, if you need to take sick or special leave lasting more than a few days. In this event, it will be your manager’s responsibility to take steps to maintain progress on the case by applying whatever measures are necessary.
Every effort must be made to ensure that enquiries are worked without unreasonable delay. Unreasonable delays can have an impact on interest charges and the imposition of penalties. If there has been a delay and a penalty position has been established the CCO should consult their manager to consider whether the delay is unreasonable due to the extent that a penalty should not be sought. If the manager is uncertain about this they should contact their CCGM for advice.