Enquiries: Action: Opening letter where there is no penalty
Your first contact with the claimant(s) to open the enquiry must always be in writing.
You must use the standard letter template letter TCC1.
The letter formally opens the enquiry and tells them what information you need. You must enclose a copy of the WTC/FS1 fact sheet which explains the enquiry process to the claimant.
Where the claim has been made by a couple in a joint household, only one opening letter should be sent addressed to both claimants even if the query only relates to one of the claimants. When sending out joint letters the claimants must still be part of a couple and residing at the same address. If they are part of a couple but residing at different addresses or no longer part of a couple, then a separate letter and a separate WTC/FS1 fact sheet must still be sent to each claimant.
You should always state the date by which the claimant should get back to you and allow at least 30 days. For example, if you wrote on 06/08/08, you would specify 15/09/08 for a response. If you are aware that postal delays are likely, for example there is a strike or it is close to Christmas, allow a few extra days. Also allow a longer time if you know for example the claimant is abroad or incapacitated and it means they will not be able to reply within 30 days.
Your next action will depend on any response to the opening letter. If the claimant:
If the claimant phones you to discuss your letter make full notes of everything they say and keep a record in your papers. If the claimant has fully answered your queries over the phone they do not need to reply in writing and you should see CCM16260.
If the opening letter is returned RLS or you know it has not been received by the claimant (or either claimant where the claim was made by a couple) - see CCM16250