Ask CPAG Online - What are the grounds for disputing a decision?

You can dispute a discretionary housing payment (DHP) on any grounds. Your grounds will, of course, depend on the reasons you applied for a DHP and the reasons given by the local authority (LA) for its decision. 

Although there are frequently grounds for disputing DHP decisions, it should be borne in mind that payments are discretionary. Where a LA has made a decision in accordance with the rules and taking into account all the relevant circumstances, there may not be grounds to pursue a dispute. 

You may want to frame your grounds under one or more heads of the grounds commonly used in Judicial Review cases. The most common is where the LA has failed to properly take account of all your circumstances and instead made its decision in accordance with a rigid set of rules or policies.

If someone in your household is disabled, your grounds may relate to a failure by the LA to properly take this into account or unlawfully discriminating on the grounds of disability.  Where the LA has refused to renew a previous award, its decision would be irrational unless there has been a change in your circumstances justifying a different decision.

In terms of the detail of your grounds, you need to check and dispute the reasons the LA has given for its decision, which it must send to you with its written decision. The section on ‘Can you get a Discretionary Housing Payment?’ sets out the circumstances in which a DHP can be awarded.

If you did not give full details of all your needs and circumstances, you should do so as part of your review application, quoting any relevant guidance which supports your case to show that the LA decision should be changed. 

If you did give full details of your needs and circumstances, you should refer to these and any additional evidence you have, to dispute the LA decision and the reasons given for it. In both cases, you need to ensure that the LA has all the relevant facts about your needs and circumstances.