Hi guys, some answers to your questions from someone who got their visa granted 5.5 weeks after submission.
You can get your medical done within a couple of days of submission. You'll get a notification at immi and a form to complete that you'll need to take to your appointment. There are only a few places in the UK you can get them done including London. There's information on the immigration page and it costs about £300 I seem to recall. This is the same for everyone or you can wait until your case officer to request it, but we did it upfront and it worked well for us.
I'm Australian and my husband is British. He just needed the UK police clearance, but I had to get both the Australian and UK as I had lived in the UK for the previous 13 years. It doesn't matter whether you have kids or not, they changed the rules late last year and now the sponsor needs them too. Again you can wait or front load.
We frontloaded and got the visa granted within days of submitting the last police check.
I have just picked up this thread. Congrats on the award.
I went the route of front loading all documents so that my application was complete. I received an email from my case officer two weeks ago requesting an AFP clearance for my partner which we submitted last week.
I applied for a spousal visa 309 on the 9 April 2017 and this is the first form of communication from DIBP. I hold both British and South African citizenships, but due to my primary residence being South Africa, I had to apply via the local Australian embassy in Pretoria. From my understanding, South Africa is a high-risk country, which supposedly increases the amount time required to vet each applicant. I am hoping my British citizenship will also be taken into consideration and possibly expedite the process.
You mention in your comment detailed above that the case officer requested more information and once received they awarded the visa. I think the final award or the time it takes to award post submission of outstanding paper work is also dependent on the type of information requested as they may do checks and balances, especially in the case of police clearance.
I am hoping that I am close to the end, let's see what happens over the next couple of weeks.