Looking past the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic creates unique challenges for RTI and IP decision makers. Meeting these challenges may mean using the Acts’ tools in ways that have not arisen before. It may mean refusing access to documents on the grounds that they can’t be located—because physical offices are closed or officers aren’t available to search for them. It may mean applications being beyond current resource capabilities to deal with because decision makers are scattered—or resources usually available have been reassigned to COVID-19 related operational duties.
But these challenges won’t last forever. We will get to the other side.
For applications impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that, when the crisis is over, those applicants will be able to make fresh applications. Refusal to deal on the basis of previous application for same documents won’t (in most cases) be appropriate. This is a conversation worth having with applicants now.
Where an application captures documents you know you cannot access, or is one you won’t be able to process, talk to the applicant about it. Explain why you can’t get the documents and emphasise that they can apply for them later. They may be willing to work with you, and perhaps delay making their application.
This page has information and updated FAQs about COVID-19 and decision making. For more information contact the Enquiries Service on 07 3234 7373 (option 1) or firstname.lastname@example.org.