Appeals by Email

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  • #22638
    Karen
    Participant

    a quick question…… Can you accept appeals made via email?

    I received an appeal in writing with regards to a housing benefit overpayment, and as I was composing a reply to state it had to be in writing and signed by them, I had a wee look at CPAG, and it states that the appeal can be recieved ‘by any means available’ and quotes ’email’ as a way of sending an appeal.

    If that is the case, what happens to the first requirement – that of the signature of the person affected.

    #8964
    Kevin D
    Participant

    An appeal MUST be signed by the clmt – this means an actual signature.

    DAR 20(1)(b)

    R v LB Lambeth ex p CROOKES & others (1998) EWHC Admin 167 (p48-59)
    Goodman v Eban (1954) CA

    An extract from Goodman was referred to in an earlier thread:

    new.hbinfo.org.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3639

    Regards

    #8965
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The policy where I am working at the moment is that email appeals are not accepted as duly made as they do not carry a signature. There is no specific policy on emails that carry an electronic signature. So although the email appeal is sufficient to establish that a person wishes to appeal, they still have to be printed off and returned to the appellant for signature. The CPAG commentary, as I read it, indicates that email is an acceptable method of delivery, but does not suggest that such an appeal would be acceptable as duly made.

    #8966
    Karen
    Participant

    thanks ….. I’ll go and draft my email response.

    Thought that was the case, but just needed a few 2nd opinions

    cheers πŸ˜†

    #8967
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    What about these regs – http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2002/20020318.htm

    I would guess that European legislation is key here. Personally I think such appeals by email are legitimate and duly made; it is after all the agenda to move away from paper and provided the LA is satisfied the signature is genuine I would hope TAS will accept them.

    #8968
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I am inclined to agree with Peter that an email with an electronic signature would be a different kettle of fish to an ‘ordinary’ email…but I have not come across any electronically signed email appeals yet…

    #8969
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Edit: Andy beat me to it….

    If the e-mail had an “electronic signature”, that would potentially be sufficient (although, I’m still not certain). But, most e-mails do not have such a signature. If, as is true of most e-mails, it is a bog standard mail sent from an e-mail address without a specific electronic signature, my view is that this would not be enough.

    Without an electronic signature, anyone could have sent the e-mail which is why I would be relatively cautious.

    Regards

    #8970
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Mr Commissioner Mesher confirmed at para 7 of CI/2000/2004 that β€œin writing β€œ includes electronic communication by email.

    The only question is the signature. I have standard letters that are word documents with an electronic signature inserted. The appeals are often sent as email attachments.

    Dont see that a text email with an electronic signature inserted would be any different

    #8971
    Karen
    Participant

    thanks for all the responses, I will prepare something and wait for a chairmans decision

    #8972
    Julian Hobson
    Participant

    Don’t want to sound like a pedant, and definitely not an IT expert.

    My understanding of an “electronic signature” is not an image of your autograph. An electronic signature is exactly what it says, a signature that can be read and verified electronically rather than a “visual signature” which can be read and verified “visually”.

    Having said that I don’t see anything wrong with attaching an image of your signature to anything and it becoming a valid signature (we do it on standard letters !!!). But lets not confuse the electronic signature with an image of a signature that happens to be delivered electronically.

    #8973
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Following [i:56fb8d8be6]Goodman[/i:56fb8d8be6] I’m not sure that an electronic facsimile of a signature would be sufficient. Following the regulations cited by Peter de la Mothe, however, an electronic signature may well be acceptable, as the whole purpose of the electronic (non-facsimile) signature is to allow business to be conducted via such media as email, rather than having to back everything up with hand-signed hard copies.

    #8974
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I agree with Julian – and was going to make exactly the same point. If eelctronic signatures for our decisions is “good enough” why are emails – verified from a source with our without a fancy signature but a sign off is enclosed- not so??

    I would (and do) accept an appeal by email. Presently it is an arguable point, but next year when we get the enactment for electronic signatures for claims this must spill over in to emails for appeals etc too.. surely?

    #8975
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The reason why a facsimile signature is good enough on a LA notification letter is because Schedule 9 of the HBR 2006 does not [i:992ce2df3c]require[/i:992ce2df3c] a notification to be signed by an officer of the LA. [i:992ce2df3c]Goodman[/i:992ce2df3c] deals with situations where a signature [i:992ce2df3c]is[/i:992ce2df3c] required, which means it would also be applicable to a letter of appeal, which [i:992ce2df3c]must[/i:992ce2df3c] be signed by the person with the right of appeal.

    #8976
    Julian Hobson
    Participant

    I found this interesting:

    http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrb/publications/online/MHoggsig.htm

    I think my conclusion is that:

    an email with no signature is no good.

    an email with an attachment that contains a written appeal with a signature is fine irrespective of how the signature was produced (with a pen, rubber stamp, or a .tif/gif file).

    an email (the text of which includes the appeal) that includes an attachment with a signature is fine irrespective of how the signature was produced.

    it would appear that the most important bit about the signature is what it signifies and it does two things.

    It shows that the person said to have written something is prepared to put their name to it as theirs AND by placing it at the end of the text shows that that is the extent of what they have to say (In theory the text can’t now be added to by them or anyone else pretending to be them).

    #8977
    Chris Cook
    Participant

    Entered in error.
    The HB and CTB (Electronic Communications) (HB and CTB) Order 2006.
    Comments required by DWP by 1/10/06.

    The DWP proposes to enable HB & CTB claims and changes of circumstances notifications to be made by telephone or electronically, with or without a signature, through statutory instruments.

    I would be interested to hear practitioners views on the above.
    It would seem that each LA can set up its own arrangements under the proposed legislation, via an internal signed direction signed by the Chief Executive to e-enable its HB Administration.

    Just imagine, potentially a further 408 ways of making electronic claims/electronic changes of circumstances, electronic notifications, electronic signatures/no signatures etc.
    This really aids simplification!

    I would be grateful for any views on this.
    Fors and againsts.
    Benefits managers jumping for joy πŸ˜€ , fraud teams in despair πŸ˜₯ ?

    Chris Cook
    Senior Audit and Fraud Investigation Officer

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