Investigation work: opening under Code 8: attendance at opening meetings
It is part of the Team Leader’s responsibility to ensure that when an opening meeting is the right way to proceed, that it is properly conducted. This means that the Team Leader will choose which meetings he/she feels it necessary to attend; those where a sufficiently experienced Investigator must be present to support the caseworker; those where he/she considers that the Investigator working alone is capable of handling the demands of that particular meeting.
Some cases will be team-worked and careful consideration should be given to which members of the team should attend an opening meeting. If major accountancy issues are in point, an SI Accountant should attend. Similarly, if Employer Compliance issues are prominent in the case, the relevant expert should be present. There can be no hard and fast rule about attendees and the Team Leader should be consulted in cases of doubt, but it will be unusual for the numbers representing HMRC to exceed the number of taxpayers/advisers.
It is essential that inexperienced Investigators sit-in on other Investigators’ cases to gain experience and a new perspective on their own cases. It is also desirable that Investigators with different experiences and backgrounds attend meetings outside their comfort zone where possible, so that they can gain experience and awareness of a range of work.
In Code 8 cases there may be occasions when HMRC specialists or other investigators from outside SI will be present at meetings and if this is the case it should be made clear to the taxpayer who these other HMRC officers represent and what their role is at the meeting. The taxpayer should be under no doubt about who is working the case and the Code of Practice which is applicable.