Dear Leeds City Council,

I would like to request the following information

1, the number of housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions taken over the last four years by an outsourced provider/contractor and the identity of that provider/contractor

2 the number of checks undertaken by the council of outsourced housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions over the last four years. Such checks are required under the Contracting Out (Functions of Local Authorities: Income-Related Benefits) Order 2002, rule 4.

3, the proportion of checked decisions that were considered by the council to be erroneous

4, the efforts made by outsourced providers to prevent such errors from
recurring

5, the number of mandatory reconsiderations lodged against housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions for each of the last four years

6, the number of mandatory reconsiderations in favour of the individual claimant

7, the identity of the body undertaking such mandatory reconsiderations, ie the council or an outsourced provider and, if the latter, the identity of that outsourced provider.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Thomas

DPFOI, Leeds City Council

Thank you for contacting the Leeds City Council Information Management &
Governance Requests team. We confirm that we have received your
correspondence.
 
If you have submitted a Freedom of Information or Environmental
Information Regulation request- we will respond to your request in
accordance with the appropriate legislation within 20 working days. While
you wait, you may wish to check information published by the Council on
the [1]Data Mill North to see if the information you have requested is
already available.
 
If you have submitted an access to information request or other
information rights request- we will respond to your request in accordance
with the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. Please note in order to
process your request, we require confirmation of your identity via a
copy of one of the following forms:

o Driving Licence
o Passport
o Birth Certificate
o Council Tax bill
o Utility bill 

If we require further information from you before we are able to process
your request we will contact you directly to request this.  If you would
like more information on how Leeds City Council process these types of
requests, information is available on our [2]website

 

If you are a healthcare or social work professional, or a member of the
police force making a request for disclosure of information for the
purpose of safeguarding or the prevention, investigation, detection or
prosecution of criminal offences – we will respond to your request as soon
as possible.

 

For all other queries – we will look into your request and respond as
appropriate.

 

For information about what we do with personal data please see our
[3]privacy notice.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Information Management & Governance – Requests Team

 

 

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IMG.Requests, Leeds City Council

Good morning,

Freedom of information request Ref 247502 : Housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions

Thank you for your request for the above information which we received on 10 December 2019. We will respond to your request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Your request has been assigned to one of our officers who will arrange a response within the appropriate statutory time limit.

Please remember to quote reference number FOI 247502 in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,
Marta Kapica
Information Governance Assistant
Leeds City Council

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IMG.Requests, Leeds City Council

Dear Robert Thomas,

Freedom of Information Request (Ref: 247502)

I refer to the above and your request dated 10 December 2019. I have contacted the relevant services and now provide a response to your request relating to Housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions.

1, the number of housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions taken over the last four years by an outsourced provider/contractor and the identity of that provider/contractor
2 the number of checks undertaken by the council of outsourced housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions over the last four years. Such checks are required under the Contracting Out (Functions of Local Authorities: Income-Related Benefits) Order 2002, rule 4.
3, the proportion of checked decisions that were considered by the council to be erroneous
4, the efforts made by outsourced providers to prevent such errors from recurring
5, the number of mandatory reconsiderations lodged against housing benefit and council tax benefit decisions for each of the last four years
6, the number of mandatory reconsiderations in favour of the individual claimant
7, the identity of the body undertaking such mandatory reconsiderations, ie the council or an outsourced provider and, if the latter, the identity of that outsourced provider.

I am unable to provide a response to your request as we estimate that it would take us over 18 hours to retrieve and locate the information you have requested. Therefore your request falls above the "appropriate limit". This limit is set by fees regulations at £450 (equally 18 hours) for public authorities such as ours and is calculated using a rate of £25 per hour which is also prescribed under the same regulations.

As a result under Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act we are not obliged to provide the information which you have requested. We are however, still obliged under Section 1(a) of the Act to inform you whether or not the information in question exists. Number and outcomes of housing benefit and council tax decisions made by third parties is held but not held in a reportable manner therefore we would have to go through every file to determine a response to your request. We estimate that the retrieval of this data would take longer than 18 hours and therefore we are unable to supply this information

I trust that this response is satisfactory. If however you are dissatisfied with this response you have a right to appeal to an independent officer within the council. They will re-examine your request and assess whether we have adhered to the requirements of the act. Should you wish to follow this course of action please address your concerns in writing to the above address.

You also have a right under Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act to ask the Information Commissioner to decide whether we have met with our obligations under the act. The Commissioner has however made it clear that she expects all applicants to exhaust internal appeals procedures prior to making such an application. Should you wish to contact the Commissioner's office then you can write to the following address:

Office of the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

You may also contact the Commissioner via her website at www.ico.org.uk

I trust that this is self-explanatory. If you have any queries please contact me using the contact information above.

Yours sincerely

Mr Adam O'Connell
Information Governance Officer
Requests team
Information Management & Governance
Digital and Information Service
Leeds City Council

0113 37 84251
www.leeds.gov.uk

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