Administering new CTR claims

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    chris harvey

    I have started to go through the detail of the regs trying to identify changes to processes and procedures we will need to introduce when CTR starts and in particular the differences in the award process for new applications. I am using the default scheme regs in my example below but there are similar words in the prescribed regs.

    I can see there are some rules set out in regs 110 and 113  and Schedule 1 Part 1 to handle defective claims where information is not supplied. It basically says you can request it and give them a month (or longer if reasonable). The problem I have is I cannot see any rules telling me what to do if the information is not supplied (a very common occurrence). Reg 116 says you must make a decision after regs 110, 113 and Part 1 of Schedule 1 have been complied with. I take this to mean that we don't have to decide an application where the information is not supplied. I am not sure if the wording also means we cannot make a decision unless the information is supplied (the Berisha case in CTB may be relevant here but the CTB reg allowing decisions not to be made in certain circumstances indicated some discretion and I can't see that in the CTR rules).

    If we cannot make a decision to not award a reduction, the repercussions are perverse – if they come back months or even years later with the information. The original application has not been decided so are we required to then make a decision and award the reduction? I think we must, because if we make a decision not to award the reduction they can appeal and show they are entitled to it, there is nothing that says the application has lapsed or requires a new application to be made.

    I think I have concluded that we need to issue a decision notice refusing a reduction because they have failed to supply evidence. This lead me to think about what they could do next if they were not happy. We know in CTB they have a month (or up to 13 months with special circumstances) to appeal but the CTR regs have no appeal timescales stipulated at all. They just give us 2 months to respond to an appeal. So could someone we had served a decision notice refusing a reduction then appeal months or years down the line and go to a tribunal showing the information that they have now obtained. Would the tribunal then award the reduction (because they appear to be entitled to it). If this is the likely outcome it is better to accept the information and avoid a tribunal even where the information is supplied years later.

    Any views from learned colleagues? 


    I guess so…if there is nothing in your local scheme to limit the timescales. A number of LA’s have put in limits…I am not convinced this is lawful myself but better to put something in and argue about it later than have nothing in and end up in the mess you suggest.

    Julian Hobson

    they have tried to replicate what happens with CT liability decisions and unfortunately we have now got a free for all that appears to be enshrined in the prescribed regs so that pensioners have no time limit yet working age do if we set one (could be wrong because I first looked at this last week and haven’t finalised a view but will do by end of next week.)

    I really don’t want anything to do with this anymore because it is such a dogs breakfast.

    I feel like one of those blokes that has to go onto a building site as the project is nearing completion. I am currently pulling half bricks and waste mortar out of the toilet waste pipes cos some sloppy bricky left them there. No doubt i’ll miss something and the future occupiers will end up with something all over their face.

    John Smith

    Does anyone know whether any councils have actually published their “new” scheme yet – even if informally – so that other authorities can compare notes (or crib)?


    Doesn’t reg 113 (4) state that they have one month to provide any requested information?


    [quote=rds01]Doesn’t reg 113 (4) state that they have one month to provide any requested information?[/quote]

    Yes but the issue is the failure to supply after the month.

    Andy Thurman

    This is strangely reminiscent of the HB/CTB position when I claimed in the nineties (when a CSO told me when I went in after 3 weeks to chase my claim that “it had been fiched”) and, indeed, when I started working in HB. It led to the regs being amended because “you can’t decide not to decide or rather that, if you do, you have decided”! I think I’ve paraphrased somewhat.
    Having had the ‘luxury’ of concentrating on other matters of late, I can’t offer specific advice re the wording of the prescribed stuff (and noting what Peter has said re timescales being potentially “dodgy”) but I can’t see that you can do other than have a close relative of “adverse inference” even if, ala UE, there is an ‘anytime’ review.

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