All Area Visitors are asked to submit a written report to the Casework Department after visiting an applicant. This report is presented to the GA Committee along with the Caseworker’s report and any other relevant supporting documents. The AV report plays a vital part in the decision-making process, and can also highlight the need for any extra support which may be required in addition to financial assistance.

Report templates

To help you structure your report there are three separate report templates for the different types of applications we consider – New, Progress and Standard Awards Reviews (SAR). These can be found in Part 7 of this handbook. Please ensure you use the correct template; this will be specified by the Caseworker when they request a visit.

Report content

The content of your report should relate to the headings within the report template: current circumstances, family and lifestyle, accommodation and local area, return to work plans (for New and Progress applicants) and health and general wellbeing (for SAR applicants). If you are unsure whether certain information would be relevant in your report, please discuss this with the Caseworker. You are also welcome to call the Caseworker to discuss any sensitive issues or concerns which you do not wish to include in your report.

If reporting on the health of a New or Progress applicant, please bear in mind that they will have submitted a supporting letter from their treating physician with their application, and therefore any further information should be limited to how their health affects their daily life and outlook.

Please also note that all applicants submit detailed information regarding their income, expenditure and capital with their application, and therefore details of their financial circumstances should not be included within your report.

Anonymising reports

Taking on board the need to meet our data protection responsibilities, all external communications relating to applicants must be anonymised wherever possible. We therefore request that you do not use the applicant’s name or initials in your report. When referring to the applicant please use Dr/Mr/Ms X or ‘the applicant’.

Please also remember not to use the applicant’s name or initials in any email correspondence to the Caseworker. When emailing about an applicant please use their Case Reference Number as the email subject.

Other points to consider

  • Please be concise and try not to use more than two sides of A4.
  • Use as much reported speech as possible e.g. “In response to my query, Dr X told me that…”
  • Ensure your report is objective, factual and non-judgemental and be sensitive when making reference to the applicant’s appearance, home, religion and attitude. Remember that the applicant can ask us for a copy of your report.
  • Don’t share your report with the applicant. If they ask you for a copy, please ask them to contact the Caseworker.
  • Don’t make recommendations on what support should be given.
  • After you have sent your report to the Caseworker and they have confirmed receipt, please ensure you destroy any copies you have and delete the file from your computer to comply with data protection legislation.

Forward to Part 5: Safeguarding vulnerable adults

Area Visitor Handbook index