Issuing notification of decision

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    It is a mandatory requirement that claimants are notified of a decision made by the LA. In the event that the claimant has left that address and the LA or DWP does not have a forwaring address should the LA send the notification to the last address 9even though it is known they no longer live there) or would that contravene GDPR? In that instance would GDPR override the HB regs?


    Cant answer your question exactly, but I ‘d have thought the lesser of the two evils will be for you to not send the notification. If you send the notification to an address you know the claimant is no longer at, and by doing so you end up with a data breach, you’ll have a hard job explaining the logic of what you’ve done. Pretty sure GDPR compels you to keep your data up to date – which in this case you can only do to a certain degree. You are not up to date because you dont know the claimants new address, but you are up to date as far as you can be by knowing the claimant is no longer residing at the address you hold. To issue something to an address you know is incorrect would be acting upon data you know no longer applies to your claimant. I wouldnt do it, regardless of what the HB regulations say.

    Having said that plenty of council tax bills get sent out to ‘last known address’, and get returned to the LA, so perhaps I am making a mountain out of a molehill.

    It just doesn’t feel right to me – its a data breach risk you can easily avoid.


    Thanks for your opinion on this. Much appreciated

    nick dearnley

    The problem with this is that if a claimant doesn’t receive a decision notice, the decision might be treated as not having been made – I’m thinking of those Cmmr & UT cases where ‘the LA purported to make x decision on y date, but did not write to the claimant to tell them….’ where it is usually held that in such cases no decision has been made until communicated to the clmt.

    Usually I would send the notice to the last known address – the clmt may have mail forwarding, or someone may be able to pass it on, or they may even still be there, or the current occupier *should* return it. I think the GDPR argument is relevant and I agree with markg, but I think it’s a balance between your duty to try to notify and not randomly giving out information to people that aren’t entitled to it.

    It might depend on what the decision is – if it’s simply ‘we’ve found out you moved out, you haven’t told us/provided information, so we’ve ended your benefit’ then I think there’s not much in that that another person can do much with. The only thing they might glean is that the previous tenant was on benefit. Granted that is still arguably a GDPR breach but not a serious one. That said, I’m willing to be wrong on that sort of proportionality question. The safest option from a GDPR standpoint is clearly not to send the notice.

    John Boxall

    Reg 90 is clear that a notification has to be issued

    (1) An authority shall notify in writing any person affected by a decision made by it under these Regulations—
    (a) in the case of a decision on a claim, forthwith or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter;

    I am not sure if in the regs it states where it should be sent

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield


    There is an GDPR exemption where information has to be disclosed by law – although ICO guidance suggests that would be more appropriate for disclosing information to a particular third party – rather than just putting something out there that could get seen by any old third party.

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