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HMRC internal manual

Fraud Civil Investigation Manual

Where CDF offer is made 30 June 2014 onwards: the initial meeting: breaks taken in a meeting

The conduct of any meetings has to be such that a customer cannot subsequently claim that they only made an admission because of being over-tired by the

  • length of the meeting,
  • absence of refreshment, or
  • the time elapsed since a meal.

At the outset, if you have not done so already, establish what time is available and plan the meeting to allow comfort breaks at regular intervals.

At the start of a meeting you should tell the customer, and their adviser, to request a break whenever they wish. It is best practice to offer breaks even though the customer may indicate that none are necessary.

You must remind the customer of this during the meeting and make sure that the customer does get regular refreshment and has the opportunity for meal and comfort breaks. As a general guide you should seek to offer a break every 90 to 120 minutes to avoid lengthy meetings appearing oppressive.

Everything said about breaks, and whether or not a break was taken, must be fully recorded in the meeting notes. At the end of the meeting make sure that you ask the customer if they have any comments about the meeting, including, for example, anything about the way they have been treated and how the meeting has been conducted.