Letter to the Secretary of the Committee
from the Torfaen Citizens Advice Bureau (OP 03)
Dear Miss Young
We are writing to you with regards to Mr. C
and would like to submit the details of his case to the select
committee looking into ONE.
The facts of the case are as follows:
Mr. C had been unemployed since March 2000 and
had been applying unsuccessfully for jobs in industry, which was
his field of expertise. Mr. C had always wanted to be a teacher
and when he heard of the new Graduate Teachers Programme he applied.
He was accepted in June 2000 on the scheme and told his ONE Personal
Adviser about the scheme and his plans.
In January 2001 Mr. C via the job Centre was
offered a job in industry at about £22,000 per annum. Around
the same time he was told that he would be able to start on the
Graduate Teachers Programme after Easter earning around £9,000
per annum. Mr. C went to see his ONE Personal Adviser for advice,
as he did not want to loose the Teachers Post.
He was advised to take the job in Industry for
10 weeks, to claim Working Families Tax Credit and then when the
Teachers Post started he could take that job and put in a change
of circumstances form with the Working Families Tax Credit so
that his Working Families Tax Credit benefit would increase immediately.
Enclosed are the prompt sheets Mr. C took with him to the interview
with his ONE Personal Adviser when he was seeking advice about
benefits before deciding on which job to take.
Mr. C was most concerned about his finances
as he is a married man, with 3 children under the age of 6 years
and a home owner. Mr. C was most concerned as he realised that
he would need the Working Families Tax Credit to supplement his
wages as a teacher. Mr. C was very reluctant to follow his ONE
personal Advisers advice about claiming Working Families Tax Credit
while in the higher paid job but was finally persuaded and reluctantly
The result of following this advice was that
Mr. C applied for the increase in his Working Families Tax Credit
award because he was now in the teaching post, he was told that
the award ran for 26 weeks and could not be changed. This was
the very thing that Mr. C had wanted to avoid and it has left
Mr. C in severe financial difficulties. He has in fact lost out
on £1170.34 Working Families Tax Credit.
Mr. C contacted the ONE service, who verbally
agreed he had been given bad advice and the Manager Mrs. D was
very supportive, when he had a personal interview with her. She
contacted the Inland Revenue oil his behalf to see if she could
get the award altered, but they said no. She then advised him
to put in an Appeal to the Inland Revenue. At no time did she
advise him that he could seek financial redress from the Job Centre
and even when Mr. C asked was told that there was no scheme for
compensating people. Mr. C contacted the Inland Revenue and they
agreed that lie had been given bad advice and he should be financially
compensated by the Job Centre.
We have contacted ONE and the Benefits Agency
on several occasions with no response until we wrote to the chief
executive in June 2001. The Special Payments team were investigating
Mr. C's claim for compensation and seemed hopeful for an early
settlement but now everything has come to a stop. Mr. B from the
special payments team has contacted Mr. C to say that he can do
nothing until after the Inland Revenue Appeal has been heard and
this can take anything from 14-18 weeks.
Mr. C in the meantime has been forced to take
out loans in order to pay his mortgage and this has meant that
although financially he was £ 1170.34 down on the Benefits
he should have received it has cost him a tot more than this in
the effort to keep his home. Mr. C feels as if he is being passed
from one department to another each agreeing he should get financial
redress but no one willing to admit that they should be the one
In this particular case ONE has given out wrong?
Bad advice which has cost the client money. They have also prevented
him from taking advantage of their Work Trial Scheme by failing
to do the work cheeks needed before he started his teaching post
(which meant that he lost 2 weeks additional benefit), and added
to which they gave him the wrong tax code. All in all Mr. C would
not say that he has had a very happy experience of ONE.
We would be very grateful for any assistance
you could give Mr. C as this case is still ongoing and it looks
as if it could drag on for another 3 or 4 months at least just
waiting for the appeal to be heard.
Torfaen CLS Supervisor
4 September 2001
1. Mr. C was unemployed from March 2000.
2. He joined the graduate teachers programme
in June 2000.
3. Offered a job of £22,000 in industry
in January 2001.
4. January 2001 informed he would start
teaching after Easter holidays.
5. Went to see his ONE personal Adviser
for Benefits advice and advice on his best options. Mr. C was
worried about his finances when he started his teaching position,
as he would need the Working Families Tax Credit to make the position
viable so that he could pay his mortgage and other financial commitments.
6. He was advised to take high paid job
for 10 weeks and apply for Working Families Tax Credit. Then finish
job go back to Jobseekers allowance before taking up teaching
post and putting in change of circumstances form for Working Families
7. As a result of the advice of the ONE
adviser client has lost out on £1,170.34 in Working Families
Tax Credit and is now in financial difficulties. He was advised
by the ONE personal Advisers Manager to put in an appeal to the
Inland Revenue, which he did and as a result his compensation
claim is now being held up another three to four months.
8. Since April 2001 he has been passed from
one department to another and is in financial difficulties because
of poor advice from his ONE Personal Adviser.
Dear Miss Young
Further to the letters we have written about
Mr C and his claim for compensation from ONE. The case seems to
have been concluded now.
Since last contacting you we contacted Mr C's
MP Paul Flynn and he has worked hard on Mr C's behalf. A few weeks
ago Mr C was contacted by the Special Payments team and has now
received a cheque for the Working Families Tax Credit he lost
due to the bad advice he was given. As far as I am aware Mr C
has not been compensated for the extra expenses he incurred as
a result of this bad advice nor has he been compensated for the
stress, anxiety and emotional hardship he suffered.
Mr C is doing well on the Graduate Teachers
programme and he was the first person to take it up in our area.
His Headmaster is so pleased with him that he is now being asked
to talk to other people who are thinking of joining the scheme
and he has been taken by his headmaster to talk to other head
teachers who are thinking of taking on someone under the scheme.
We have copied all our correspondence onto disk
for you but unfortunately we do not have access to a scanner to
copy the letters Mr C was sent by the Benefits Agency detailing
the advice they had given him. I hope this will not cause too
much of a problem.
Torfaen CLS Supervisor
12 November 2001