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CTS - which regs which allow a revision

Prisca
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benefits section (training & accuracy) Bristol city council

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Total Posts: 112

Joined: 20 August 2015

I know this sounds like a daft question so apologies

Our CTS scheme is based on the standard, default scheme which pretty much mirrored the old CTB regs

We made a terminating decision which was wrong ( terminating before 1 month had elapsed to provide info)

We then got a new claim within 1 month of terminating decision, - that was paid as a new claim which left a gap in entitlement - i raised both assessments as errors

the terminating decision for being done too early, the “new claim” assessment for not considering revising the terminating ( as received with 1 month)

The error is being queried as follows:

Can you give me the regs that allow us revise a decision to end a CTS claim? The 21 days + reasonable period needs to be allowed as reasonable before a decision is made. Once a decision is made then the claim has ended.

HB allows you to re-open within a further month + reasonable period due to ‘decisions and appeals’ regs, but no such regs exist in CTS

I admit I’m a bit floored by this - basically because every authority I have worked with since CTS who have the default scheme have allowed revisions of decisons.

I did ask what would happen if the customer queried /appealed the terminating decision - would we say _"oops, we can see we did it wrong but we dont have a mechanism for putting it right” - the reply was no, of course not, we’d fix it.

But I dont see how it can be fixed WITHOUT using a revision ?

Our assessors do routinely revise decisions - usually when customer says there income has dropped, but the current UC doesnt show it, we’ll send a nil qualifier and diarise for a month to check the updated UC - if theres entitlement on that, we “revise” the initial nil qualifier decison

So kind and lovely peple, - what / where in the default CTS scheme allows an LA to revise a terminating decison in CTS?

Elliot Kent
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Shelter

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The important thing to note is that CTS is not a benefit. The decision making process from the Social Security Act, including the concept of revision, therefore does not apply.

CTS is a function of council tax billing and administration. If the amount of the CTS is incorrect, the council just serves a new demand with the corrected figure. If your scheme has been incorrectly applied, then I don’t see that any further authority is needed to just re-calculate the liability for the relevant year on the correct basis.

By the same token, there is no such thing as a CTS overpayment - the council just recalculates the council tax liability with the corrected figures and demands payment of the updated sum. None of the fiddly questions such as whether the ‘overpayment’ is recoverable arise.

Prisca
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benefits section (training & accuracy) Bristol city council

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Joined: 20 August 2015

Thanks -
but im still struggling to see how we put the award right - we ended it incorrectly.
The new claim didnt request backdating . 

Im aware its a discount rather than a benefit, so do i need to look as ctax regs ( rather than cts regs) to look for the mechanism for apllying/ removing discounts and correcting errors in those?

What am I using to put the CTS right? ( there is no disagreement that the terminating decision was wrong, just disagreement on what we use to put it right)

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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Yes, you need to look at it as a Council Tax adjustment generally.  CTR has no dedicated adjudication regime akin to the HB&CTB; D&A Regs so all adjustments/corrections are handled in the same way as other Council Tax matters.  See also s12 of the Interpretation Act 1978 which says a public body with statutory duties can do whatever it needs to do from time to time unless there is something to say it cannot.

Incidentally, many local authorities have tried to write rules into their schemes limiting favourable adjustments (late reported changes etc) but I cannot see any authority for this in the LGFA 1992.  I think the only limit on favourable adjustment would be the Limitation Act which the VT has applied in some cases and not in others where a discount or reduction has not been applied over a long period.