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11.2.2 Planning and preparation are essential

  • ensure you understand the purpose and objectives of the interview. What are you trying to achieve by interviewing the person?
  • ensure you know the case and you understand all the available evidence. That is, read the files and note any history of the pensioner's dealings with the department. Also check the person's medical records on file to see if there are any physical, emotional or mental conditions that may affect how you conduct the interview.
  • ensure you are familiar with the overpayment requirements in the VEA (i.e. are you familiar with this manual)?
  • make a list of questions you wish to have answered, but do not be inflexible if other matters arise.
  • gather any forms you think may need completing.
  • establish if they will be attending alone or with a third party, and if possible the role the third party will take in the interview.
  • if necessary arrange to have another officer, or third party present. For example, home visits should always be attended by two officers, or if you feel unsure or nervous, another staff member should be present.
  • if the interviewee becomes agitated or aggressive the interview should be terminated and if appropriate, arrangements made for another interview.