Enquiries: Action: Adjustment needed to the award and the year following the enquiry is not the current year
If after considering the claimants reply, you have now resolved your concerns, you can make a decision based on your conclusions. This might mean you terminate the whole of your award or you might only need to adjust part of the award. For example the risks were an Undisclosed Partner and Child Care Costs high compared to income. The claimant has convinced you they do not have a partner but they have overstated their child care costs. You will, therefore, adjust the amount claimed for child care costs.
Before taking any action to adjust the award you must consider whether any adjustments are needed for other years.
a. If an earlier year also needs to be adjusted see CCM14205. However, you must not go back to Py-1 or earlier years without agreed and documented approval from your manager.
b. Later years - In most situations the outcome of your enquiry will have an impact on the later year. If this is no longer the current year (for example your enquiry is for 2007/2008 and it is now August 2009) how you proceed depends on whether the award has been finalised.
- Award finalised - you will need to open an enquiry before you take any further action regarding the existing enquiry. You should issue the letter at CCM14106.
- Award not finalised - you will need to inhibit finalisation and ask the claimant to return their S17 notice to you. Once this has been returned you can make the amendment under S19 for the enquiry year and finalise the later year by making a S18 decision. If there is a continuing claim you will also have to make the S14 decision for the current year using ‘finalise and renew’. If there is no continuing claim you will use ‘finalise only’. If the claimant fails to return the S17 notice, you will have to wait until the first specified date (see CCM11040) before making your amendments using ‘finalise only’
If the enquiry window for later years has closed you must consult your manager.
After issuing the letters in CCM14106, BF your papers for 7 days and then continue as shown below.
You must write to the claimant(s) to let them know about your decision. You should always write to them even if you have spoken to them and explained to them the position on the phone.
You must use the standard letter template TCC95. The letter explains your conclusion and they will soon receive a formal decision notice.
Where the claim has been made by a couple in a joint household, only one letter should be sent addressed to both claimants. When sending out joint letters the claimants must still be part of a couple and residing at the same address. If they are part of a couple but residing at different addresses or no longer part of a couple, then a separate letter must still be sent to each claimant.
If the claimant has authorised an agent to act for them remember to send a copy of the letter to the agent.
You should take the necessary system action to amend the award as soon as possible after you send the letter, and close the case on TCW on the same day you make the decision. The system will send out a revised award notice. This decision is made under S19. Where your adjustment is anything other than child care costs the system, will automatically make any adjustment for the current year. This is made under S16. Where the adjustment is child care you will need to make the adjustment for the current year. The claimant then has 30 days to appeal against your decision.
If an enquiry is needed for an earlier or later year you will also need to send a letter closing that year. You will then need to amend the awards starting with the earliest year and amending them strictly in turn.
If the claimant appeals, see CCM16330. If the claimant does not appeal you can close the case.