Much more of a hindrance than a help

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    We have a bit unusual problem. In our area a local church runs a Money Management Centre with the admirable aim of helping those with money or debt problems, particularly where the persons concerned also have health or disability issues. The centre is a bit of a one man band and the “advisor” who runs it has no support and is also a senior pastor in the church.

    The problem is that he consistently gives his clients appalling advice. Just two very recent examples include refusing to send in evidence of capital as it was “none of our business” and refusing to pay any Council Tax or Rent because we could not backdate a claim for more than one year (because it was “just not fair”).

    He also sends in incorrect information, such as saying his client had claimed IS when they hadn’t and saying another client had started work when they hadn’t.

    We have tried to be helpful and supportive by advising on courses that could be attended. He did actually attend one, but didn’t like it.

    We have tried to be subtle by sending his clients lists of alternative free advice centres, but his connection with the church gives him a credibility with his clients that is out of all proportion to the quality of his advice.

    The forms that he gets his clients to sign asks us to correspond with him about all aspects of their benefits claim, but he is not an appointee.

    Can we just refuse to correspond with him about his clients cases and contact them direct when we receive letters from him?

    Kevin D


    Spooky…. does this other thread assist?

    In my view, you would absolutely be within your rights to correspond directly with the clmt.

    The justification in ignoring the signed requests to correspond with the “advisor” would be simple – the advisor is not an appointee. If you then start getting requests from the advisor to be an appointee, the LA has the right to refuse. And, as the decision is under HBR 82(3), it is (from memory) non-appealable which would leave only JR as an option – DAR 16 + paras 1 & 2 of the Schedule.

    Given the info about the “quality” of advice being given by the advisor, I can’t see how you could be at fault in corresponding directly with the clmts.

    On a narrow technical point, it could be argued that any notifs / correspondence etc should in fact always be sent directly to the clmt (where there is no appointee etc).

    Hope the above helps.



    Why not write to the Church Council (or whatever it is called) raising your concerns? If this doesn’t work I’d go with the “refuse to correspond” idea.


    As an alternative, point out to him the provisions of Reg 101(2)(a)(i) that a person who materially contributed to an overpayment could be the target of recovery 😈

    Andy Shanks

    What happens if the person claiming ‘pops’ a signature onto the letter from the 3rd party, I have letters from a realtive all done and signed by the realtive and then @ the bottom there is a signature of the claimant. does this mean that the claimant is in effect confirming the letter and its contents [the line that I have taken so far] or should there be an actual declaration to this effect. I was going along merrily until my wheels fell off when I saw this post, now am worried as the person doing the letters is a serial complainer [not a bad thing I hasten to add if things are wrong] and therefore all the additional work answering these letters may not be time well spent.

    Andy Shanks

    Further to the last post I would like to add that the person doing the letters and the claimant live at least an hours drive apart, so part the problem is that at 2 letters a day how can the claimant sign each letter?

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