Reply To: Revisions & Appeals


Liverpool City Council (01/C/7860)

Housing benefit and local taxation

The complaint was made by an advice agency on behalf of a client who appealed against housing and council tax benefit decisions taken by the Council. The complaint was that the Council unreasonably delayed in dealing with those appeals.

The Ombudsman found that the Council delayed by five months in notifying its decision not to allow the complainant a late appeal, and further delayed by five weeks its reply to a letter from the advice agency.

There was a further delay in convening a meeting of a housing benefit review board to consider another appeal and (following the replacement of housing benefit review boards by the Appeals Service) passing the appeal to the Appeals Service that delay amounted to nine months.

The Council paid £375 to the complainant to compensate her for the injustice arising from its maladministration. The Ombudsman considered this to be a satisfactory settlement of the complaint.

The Ombudsman expressed the view that central government should set a time limit requiring appeals to be submitted to the Appeals Service within 28 days. The Council cleared its backlog and adopted 28 days as its target.

30 September 2002

[b:facf9f743b](oops – 28 days, not one month!)[/b:facf9f743b]