Thursday, 3rd February, 2022.
Full-Day Workshop: (9:30 - 4:30/4:45)
Workshop Fee: £220 + VAT. 4th Place Free .
HOUSING BENEFIT APPEALS & FIRST TIER TRIBUNALS
A Good Practice Workshop For Preparing & Submitting HB Appeals
This Workshop provides an introduction/refresher to the general principles of appeal submission writing, coupled with detailed analysis of the issues arising in overpayment appeals. We look at how to make sure you have your “ducks in a row” – the adjudication history clearly established - and we look at some of the most frequent issues arising in overpayment appeals such as undisclosed capital, undisclosed partners, undisclosed earnings, and use of third-party evidence. The Workshop will be of particular interest for local authority officers at all levels involved with the Housing Benefit appeals process.
This Workshop provides a general introduction for new appeals officers, or a refresher for existing appeals officers, covering the general principles of appeal submission writing: Impartiality, what evidence to include, the traditional lay-out of an appeal submission and when it might be useful to vary that lay-out. But each aspect of submission writing is demonstrated by practical examples and exercises focussed primarily on overpayments.
We have selected ‘Overpayments’ as the theme for this day: Partly because with the completion of the UC roll-out a couple of years ago, there are fewer opportunities for appeals to arise on issues predominantly associated with new claims (such as commerciality/contrivance), and partly because an overpayment submission tends to involve most of the important principles of submission writing generally.
We will consider some of the most common reasons for overpayments, such as undisclosed capital and undisclosed partners.
Apart from the merits of the case, overpayment appeals are notoriously subject to technical issues which can lead to the Council losing what ought to have been a strong case on the facts. Examples include:
· Has the Council demonstrated that the adjudication history is properly in order, with original awarding decisions properly revised or superseded – what Tribunals sometimes refer to as getting your “ducks in a row”?
· Has the Council made a complete decision – not just that an overpayment exists per se, but whether it is recoverable and from whom?
· Has the decision been notified in the correct manner to the correct parties?
Of course, no Workshop looking at overpayments would be complete without a substantial segment devoted to landlords: When is an overpayment recoverable from a landlord? When is a landlord a party to an appeal? What grounds of appeal may the landlord rely on and what documents should be disclosed to the landlord? There is a large body of case law concerned with landlords and HB appeals and we will cover the most up-to-date decisions during the day.
The day also includes a brief look at what happens after the appeal has been submitted to the Tribunal, including procedure at the oral hearing and possible options for taking it further if either party is dissatisfied with the outcome.
The final topic of the day is a brief look at submitting CTR appeals to the Valuation Tribunal – a body with a different culture and different expectations compared with Social Security Tribunals. We will look at the VT’s jurisdiction and differences in procedure, such as time limits and putting together a submission bundle.
“GOODIE-BAG”:Delegates will receive specimen skeleton appeal submissions in editable ‘Word’ format with numbered paragraphs and section headings and some “boilerplate” content addressing the key principles.
Presented by Peter Barker, a hugely experienced trainer, appeals presenter and submission writer. He started as a local authority appeals officer in the 1980s, and for many years he has represented local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland at both First-tier and Upper Tribunal level. Tribunal Judges frequently comment on the high quality of Peter’s submissions. He combines a wealth of first-hand experience with expert knowledge of adjudication legislation and has a real enthusiasm for the topic.
Contact us for In-House 'Zoom' booking information on a range of programmes for this topic.
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