Dr Marie Burton, within her PhD thesis: Calling for Justice: Comparing telephone and face-to-face advice in social welfare Law (LSE, 2016), has found that:

There are significant consequences of replacing face-to-face advice with telephone advice in social welfare law. These consequences can seriously disadvantage many social welfare clients, particularly those who are more vulnerable and those with the most acute legal problems (who are often the same people).

The research found that face-to-face advice was linked to a stronger emotional connection between client and adviser, which can affect the degree to which the client is willing and able to give information.  Face-to-face advice can also improve the exchange of information and advice and allows the adviser to use their local knowledge, relationship and networks.

This research is of particular interest to LAPG as we have raised concerns about on the impact on vulnerable client of the government’s mandatory telephone gateway for areas of advice such as debt, discrimination and education law.

Read Dr Burton’s summary here.