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Letter-Writing Skills in an Advice Centre

Always include in a letter:

  • Your own address (or the address that the person getting the letter must write back to)
  • The address of the person to whom you are writing
  • The date

Start your letter by saying that you are writing on behalf of your client. Set out clearly in your letter the details of your client’s complaint.

Say exactly what it is you want from the person you are writing to. In other words, say what the person you are writing to must do about the complaint.

Remember to include information that can help to identify your client, for example, identity number, work numbers, pension number, UIF number, Compensation for Occupational Injuries case number, and so on.

Make sure that your letter is signed and has the date on it before you send it out. If possible, get another person to check your letter before you post it.

Keep a copy of all letters written in your client’s file, including any hand-delivered letters.

Some standard letters can be photocopied to cut down on typing load. Type the main part of the letter that always stays the same, leaving blanks to fill in the things that change like the client’s name. Photocopy the standard letter and then every time you need this kind of letter you just fill in the blanks.

Examples of such letters are:

  • Letter asking client to call at the office
  • Letters of referral, for example to another assistance agency
  • Letters of referral to the Small Claims Court

There are standard MODEL LETTERS in this manual. These letters are there to give you some guidance on what to include in typical letters you may have to write. For example, you will often have to write a letter of demand asking someone to do something, like pay your client money that is owing.