Saturday, 29 November 2008

Housing and Council Tax Benefit Decision notices

Thanks to falling on hard times I've recently had to claim Council Tax Benefit. To be fair the claim was processed fairly quickly (although the start date was wrong). However, when I received the standard decision notice something was amiss.

You see there are fairly strict laws which set out what information must be provided on a HB/CTB decision notice and one of the things that is required is notice of your right to appeal. This is important because not everybody realises that they can challenge decisions. I can only presume that if my decision notice didn't have this info on nobody else's does either.

So I dropped a little formal complaint in. Again fairly speedy turnaround but the response referred to every aspect of my letter (there were other issues around backdating and stuff which I included but weren't actually the subject of my complaint) except the issue of the decision notice. Instead they said that the three other letters I'd had from them all had their appeal rights and this is correct. They just forgot to mention the formal decision notice.

So I've emailed them back to look at it again. I'll let you know what they say. Could be quite a giggle because tens of thousands of these notices go out each year and if they're all unlawful...

What's more changes to standard letters in HB/CTB software orten take ages and lots of work. Part of me thinks I'm missing something cos it seems such a basic error and there may be a clue in the bit on the notice that says

"Please read the enclosed notes..."

Naturally there were no enclosed notes but I expect to be informed that appeal rights are explained in said notes and that NCC ALWAYS enclose them without fail. We'll see soon enough.


Locals will probably heard of a bit of weirdness regarding a former employee of NCC, Tim Render. He used to be something high up in money and, erm, sums and things before being made redundant. Link below to the Nottingham Evening Post site for one of the stories they've posted on the matter. Anyway, cut a long story short, he's now back as a consultant.

For some reason NCC are being extraordinarly tight lipped abot exactly what he's being consulted on. Cynical speculation immediately comes up with something along the lines of

"Owww Tim, PLEEEAAASE tell us all the passwords" or

"Tim, can you come back and explain the almighty f*** up we've all made?"

or stuff involving Iceland banks

But thats just speculation.

I might have an idea as to at least part of what he's doing but unfortunately its one of this things I mentioned that is all messed up with one of those tribunal things and I might have a legal duty of confidentiality. Its also one of things where the timing might be critical for me to turn this into the maximum advantage for me and maximum annoyance for NCC.

So I'm sorry but for now I must remain a tease. Got to have something to keep you coming back for eh?

Evening Post article

Welcome to NCCLOLs

Hello all and especially to those of you in Nottingham.

Aren't local councils fun? And some are more fun than others believe me. I've worked for three of them in my time and the funnest of all was Nottingham. So, as they say, lets write about what we know.

I'm new to blogging so I'm not sure how its all going to go. Knowing the subject matter I'm not expecting a lack of material but getting it out at the right time in the right way may be a little tricky. Some of the stuff I know is the subject of tribunals and other legal cases so care has to be taken. Some require the answers to FoIA requests to flesh them out a bit. But hopefully there will be many lols.

Sometime in the future I will be asking you to send me stuff if you want to and if it checks out I'll put it up here. Not yet though as I'm still working out how thats gonna work.

Do pop back occasionally.