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3.5.3 Obtaining information
18.104.22.168 — The Department has an obligation to investigate all allegations. Some more common reasons for denunciations are a veteran's fitness for work, relationship status, undisclosed income/assets, residency, eligibility for payment in respect of dependent children and eligibility for rent assistance.
22.214.171.124 — If the information is provided at the counter or over the telephone, it is important to obtain as much relevant information as possible. Anyone approaching the Department with information should be encouraged. Without pressuring the informant, sufficient information must be obtained to correctly identify the pensioner concerned and the cause(s) of any possible overpayments.
126.96.36.199 — When taking a telephone call from an informant:
- be professional and polite
- be sympathetic to the caller's reservations about providing information that could lead to action against the pensioner
- let the caller volunteer as much information as possible before starting to question him or her
- ask the caller's relationship to the pensioner
- thank the caller and encourage him or her to supply any future information that comes his or her way
- explain the purpose of collecting information and advise the usual practice of disclosure (thereby complying with Privacy Principle 2)
- don't rush the caller
- don't put pressure on callers to identify themselves
- don't use the term 'dob-in' in the conversation with the caller; and
- if there is insufficient information on which to proceed, don't leave the caller with the impression that the case will be investigated.
188.8.131.52 — If information is provided in writing it may be necessary to contact the person who provided the information (if possible) and for further information or clarification. Care should be taken with written information. Notations should not be made on the correspondence and it should always be filed, preferably with a plastic sleave, regardless of whether there is any further action.