Opening the Examination: Unannounced Visits
The WTC/FS4 leaflet makes provision for unannounced visits to be made to claimants. You should only adopt this approach in very limited circumstances, and should never use this provision to carry out surveillance activities (see Chapter 5 - Working the Examination chapters CCM5410 to CCM5460 for guidance on surveillance).
Remember that the most reliable evidence of e.g. Undisclosed Partner cases, will usually be found in the documents you already have or will be able to obtain from the claimant(s). Turning up unexpectedly and discovering, say, an adult who was not declared on the claim form is not necessarily proof of anything (see CCM Chapter 15 (CCM15000) for guidance on Undisclosed Partners).
However, this action may be appropriate in a very small number of cases, for example where the claimant(s) has not responded to your letter, and you have tried and failed to contact them by telephone.
If you do call on a claimant at home unannounced, make sure you choose an acceptable time of day for your visit - you should not, for example, call late at night. And if the claimant(s) indicates they do not want to talk to you there and then, you must not insist, but should attempt to agree with them an alternative time and date for a meeting.
You must always obtain your manager’s written authorisation before making an unannounced visit to the claimant’s home and written notes detailing the visit and reason for unannounced visit, should be retained in the file.