If you’re unhappy with a decision the local authority has made, you can ask them to explain their reasons to you in the first instance. If you’re still unhappy you can appeal by filling out a form and sending it to them in the post. If you lose your appeal you can still challenge this decision by appealing to a higher tribunal.
Before you appeal
Write a letter to the locally authority if you disagree with a decision they’ve made.
Ask them to explain the reasons for their decision to you, and that you would like them to reconsider it. You have one month to do this from the day you receive their letter. Certain decisions such as Budgeting Loans, Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans cannot be appealed; the letter you’ve been sent should detail this.
Wait to hear back from them in writing. Contact them by telephone if you haven’t heard back from them after several weeks.
How to appeal
Pick up the ‘If you think our decision is wrong’ form from the post office, or download it from the direct.gov.uk website if you are still unhappy with their decision, however note that there are slightly different forms for different appeals such as housing benefit or council tax. Check on the direct.gov.uk website.
Fill out the form and send it to the benefits office dealing with your claim. Ask the Citizen’s Advice Bureau if you need help filling it out.
Wait to hear back about your appeal, which could either be in writing or an oral hearing where you or your representative will have to attend a tribunal.
If you lose an appeal
Write to the tribunal (known as First-Tier Tribunal) asking for permission to challenge the appeal, after carefully reading through the reasons for their decision. You can usually only challenge the appeal if you were not present at the hearing even though you wanted to be, or you did not receive a letter or document that was used at the hearing.
Check the letter containing the outcome of your appeal for instructions on how to challenge it. Your second appeal will be considered by the Upper Tribunal, and not by the First-Tier Tribunal. You must usually do this within one month of receiving the letter.
State clearly in your letter which decision you are challenging, why you think it’s wrong, and what outcome you would like.
Ask a solicitor or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice if necessary.
Things you need
- Access to a computer/word processor
- Appeals form, from post office or downloaded from the internet