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Administration of housing benefit and council tax benefit

9Enforcement of directions

After section 139D of the [1992 c. 5.] Social Security Administration Act 1992 (inserted by section 8) insert—

139EInformation about attainment of standards

(1)Where directions have been given to an authority under section 139D(3) above, the Secretary of State may require the authority to supply to him any information which he considers may assist him in deciding—

(a)whether the authority has attained the standards which it has been directed to attain; or

(b)whether the authority is likely to attain those standards within the time specified in the directions.

(2)Information shall be supplied under subsection (1) above in such manner and form as the Secretary of State may require.

139FEnforcement notices

(1)Where directions have been given to an authority under section 139D(3) above and the Secretary of State—

(a)is not satisfied that the authority has attained the standards which it has been directed to attain; or

(b)is not satisfied that the authority is likely to attain those standards within the time specified in the directions,

he may serve on the authority a written notice under this section.

(2)The notice shall—

(a)identify the directions and state why the Secretary of State is not satisfied as mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) above; and

(b)require the authority to submit a written response to the Secretary of State within a time specified in the notice.

(3)If any person (other than the authority) carrying out work relating to the administration of benefit may be affected by any determination which may be made under section 139G below, the authority shall—

(a)consult that person before submitting its response; and

(b)include in its response any relevant observations made by that person.

(4)The authority’s response shall either—

(a)state that the authority has attained the standards, or is likely to attain them within the time specified in the directions, and justify that statement; or

(b)state that the authority has not attained the standards, or is not likely to attain them within that time, and (if the authority wishes) give reasons why a determination under section 139G below should not be made or should not include any particular provision.

(5)The notice may relate to any one or more matters covered by the directions.

(6)The serving of a notice under this section relating to any directions or matter does not prevent the serving of further notices under this section relating to the same directions or matter.

(7)In this section “benefit” means housing benefit or council tax benefit.

139GEnforcement determinations

(1)Where, after the time specified in the notice under section 139F above has expired, the Secretary of State—

(a)is not satisfied that the authority has attained the standards in question; or

(b)is not satisfied that the authority is likely to attain those standards within the time specified in the directions,

he may make a determination under this section.

(2)The determination may be made whether or not the authority has responded to the notice under section 139F above.

(3)The determination shall be designed to secure the attainment of the standards in question and—

(a)shall include provision such as is specified in subsection (4) below; and

(b)may also include provision such as is specified in subsection (5) below.

(4)The provision referred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (3) above is provision that the authority must comply with specified requirements as to inviting, preparing, considering and accepting bids to carry out any work which—

(a)falls to be carried out in pursuance of the authority’s functions relating to the administration of benefit; and

(b)is of a description specified in the determination.

(5)The provision referred to in paragraph (b) of that subsection is provision of any one or more of the following kinds relating to the work, or any specified category of the work, to which the determination relates—

(a)provision that it may not be carried out by the authority;

(b)provision that it may not be carried out by any person (other than the authority) who has been carrying it out; and

(c)provision that any contract made by the authority with any person for carrying it out shall include terms requiring a level of performance which will secure, or contribute to securing, the attainment of the standards in question.

(6)In this section “benefit” means housing benefit or council tax benefit.

139HEnforcement determinations: supplementary

(1)The provisions included in a determination under section 139G above shall take effect from a date specified in the determination; and different dates may be specified in relation to different provisions.

(2)The making of a determination under section 139G above in relation to any directions does not prevent the making of further determinations under that section in relation to the same directions.

(3)The provision included in a determination by virtue of section 139G(3) above may include—

(a)requirements that the Secretary of State be satisfied as to any specified matter; and

(b)requirements that the Secretary of State authorise or consent to any specified matter.

(4)The provision so included may also include provision as to the time at which any contract for the carrying out of work to which the determination relates (and which is not previously discharged) is to be taken to be frustrated by the determination.

(5)A determination under section 139G above shall have effect in spite of any enactment under or by virtue of which an authority is required or authorised to carry out any work to which the determination relates.

(6)A determination under section 139G above may make provision having effect, in relation to the work to which it relates, instead of any requirement which (apart from the determination) would have effect in relation to that work under or by virtue of the [1988 c. 9.] Local Government Act 1988.