Electronic collection of data

Direction regarding electronic claims for housing benefit and applications for council tax reduction by the chief executive 

This page sets out the council's policy regarding electronic collection of data relating to housing benefit claims and applications for council tax reduction.

Electronic applications

I, Paul Najsarek, as chief executive of the Ealing Council (“the authority”), make the following direction under the provisions listed below:-

  • Schedule 11 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 
  • Schedule 10 of the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006
  • Part 4 of Schedule 7 of the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) (England) Regulations 2012

1.  An individual who, in accordance with the 2006 and or 2012 regulations, makes a claim for housing benefit under the Social Security Contributions and Benefit Act 1992 a claim for council tax support under the authority’s council tax reduction scheme, as regulated by the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) (England) Regulations 2012, is authorised to do so by an electronic application, provided that the individual uses the methods approved by the authority in relation to the claim.

The methods and form set out, at the time of, and for the purposes, of the delivery of such a claim, as referred to in paragraph one are respectively:

  • Electronic applications for housing benefit and or council tax reduction must be made using the authority’s online application form directly, via the council's website, the benefits' call centre, on (020) 8825 7000, or a face to face assisted eclaim interview or through a local welfare assistance officer.
  • Electronic amendments to claims for housing benefit and or council tax support (ie changes to claims prior to the initial decision on an award of benefit) made via the authority’s online change of circumstances form or benefits' service enquiry form directly via the councils website, the benefits call centre, on 020 8825 7000 or a face to face assisted echange interview or through a local welfare assistance officer.
  • Electronic notification of changes of circumstance to claims for housing benefit and or council tax support made via the authority’s online change of circumstances form or benefits service enquiry form directly via the councils website, the benefits call centre, on 020 8825 7000 or a face to face assisted echange interview or through a local welfare assistance officer.
  • The person making an electronic claim, amendment or a change of circumstances may be required to sign the electronic document using a manual or electronic method.
  • To ensure the authenticity of the identity of the sender of the electronic application must include the following:
    • the claimant's name and address
    • the claimant’s date of birth or the claimant’s national insurance number.

2.  Where evidence is required to support the application the authority may accept digital photographic and scanned images of notices, forms, evidence and information provided by a claimant.  Where digital evidence and information cannot be accepted, the customer must provide the information in accordance with the instructions provided to them.

3. Electronic applications are only treated as received when they have reached the authority’s benefit IT systems or successor systems.  Applications submitted via any other local authority email or phone number will not be accepted. 

4. The submitter must keep a copy of any electronic application reference number generated, claim, certificate, notice, information or evidence so that it can be produced where the authority so requires.  Failure to produce, upon reasonable request, the evidence required, may mean that it is deemed that no electronic claim was successfully submitted to the authority.

5. Electronic applications made after 5pm Monday to Thursday will be treated as received on the next working day. Electronic applications made between 5pm Friday and midnight on Sunday will be treated as received on the next working day. Working day is defined as a complete period of 24 hours (excluding weekends, bank holidays and days designated as by the council as non-working days or days with a reduced service).

6.  Any electronic application that does not conform to the relevant standards will be considered invalid and not delivered to the authority.

7.  The authority will not be held responsible for non-receipt of any application.

8.  This direction may be withdrawn or amended at any time by the issue of a further directive from the chief executive.