Appeal Upheld (can we change our mind)

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    We received an appeal from a gentleman who disagreed with our decision to recover an overpayment due to accidental error. We decided to recover the overpayment as the claimant had received notification letters which clearly showed that we had taken his OCCPEN into account on a weekly basis and it should have been monthly. The Appeal was heard and our decision was upheld by the Tribunal as they decided that the claimant should have reasonably now they were being overpaid. The Claimant is unfortunately a journalist for our local paper and has threatened to write a damming article about our Benefit Service. The Chief Exec has now asked me to find out if we can legally overturn the Tribunals Decision as in their Statement of Reasons (requested by the CL) they quote DMA Reg (2001 )4 (2) (Revision of Decisions) which is what we used to correct the accidental error. Our Chief Exec is taking this to mean we can use this to revise a Tribunal Decision as he feels the amount of the overpayment isn’t worth all this bother. I can’t find anything that says we can or we can’t (I am obviously hoping that I find we can’t). Just wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction????


    You cannot revise a Tribunal decision – see para 3 of Sched 7 to the 2000 Act, and compare it with para 4 which does provide for a Tribunal decision to be superseded.

    But there shouldn’t be any need to resort to such convoluted measures. The Tribunal has decided that the overpayment is recoverable. Whether you actually do recover it is a matter for your council, taking into account anything it considers relevant such as cost v benefit, causing hardship to the claimant and, in this case, political expediency. So just don’t recover it.

    Kevin D


    Peter is obviously correct – you can simply choose not to recover.

    But I say this in all sincerity. Since when did your LA allow themselves to be held to ransom by the press? Especially in a case where due process has occurred and an independent Tribunal has found against the journalist in question.

    One other consideration. Unless the law has changed overnight, blackmail is a CRIMINAL offence.

    Also, if the journalist names individuals and wrongly casts aspersions on character(s), there is also the option of looking at defamation. Contrary to the headline cases in the press, pursuing a defamation case is not as scary as it may seem.

    If I was a local tax payer, I would not be happy if my LA caved in to such a situation and, in any case, an LA is under a duty to look after public funds. I respectfully suggest that the Chief Exec develops some cojones….

    As an aside, you say “journalist”. Is his Editor in agreement?



    There was a journalist who used C O Jones as his byline wasn’t there?

    Maybe you could write a letter in response to the piece and sign it from Crispin Oswald Jones of Hutton Mount or something like that


    [b:25ea178ebf][i:25ea178ebf]LOCAL RAG SLAGS OFF COUNCIL[/i:25ea178ebf][/b:25ea178ebf]

    Good Lord, whoever heard of such a thing? Tell him to publish and be damned, and make sure he declares his journalistic income…

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