Working the examination: Meetings
Meetings are sometimes the most effective way of making progress in an examination. They allow you to clarify details of the claimant(s) circumstances, or the information they have provided, face to face. If you don’t understand an answer the claimant gives, or if a piece of information needs further explanation, it is usually easier and quicker to discuss the issues than to exchange possibly prolonged correspondence.
You cannot however insist that the claimant(s) comes to a meeting; but if you consider that a meeting is the best way forward, you should explain to the claimant(s) the advantages for both parties.
You should make every effort to accommodate requests for meetings on, say, a particular day or at a particular time, to minimise the inconvenience to claimants.
When you write to a claimant asking them to attend, or to confirm, a meeting you should enclose a copy of fact sheet WTC/FS4 that tells the claimant what to expect. If the claimant asks for a meeting you should still issue the fact sheet WTC/FS4 if there is sufficient time for them to receive this before the meeting.
Where a face to face meeting takes place notes should be sent to the claimant who should be told to come back as soon as possible if there are any alterations or comments. Sometimes further information will be needed to progress the cases but where nothing further is needed the claimant should be given 1 week to come back on the notes otherwise a decision should be made.
Where a telephone call takes place to discuss something straight forward there is no need to send notes of the decision to the claimant. However, if it has been a more detailed discussion gathering information or considering a contentious issue, for example an undisclosed partner, a note should be made and sent to the claimant in the same way that it would if the discussion had taken place face to face.