This job description is intended as a working document only, giving a guideline to the major tasks to be performed. It is anticipated that the post will develop as working practices change in order to meet the demands of the service, new legislation or policies of the council. It is expected the post holder will contribute to and assist in the development of such changes
Responsible to the Overpayments Officer, this is a career graded post dependent on experience and training, you will support the section in recovering outstanding housing benefit overpayments.
To ensure that all overpayments created by the assessment staff are correct and recoverable having consideration for any underlying entitlement.
To ensure overpayments are classified correctly for subsidy purposes, especially in relation to overpayments which include any DWP or LA error elements.
Provide regular statistical and management information on outstanding overpayments, recovered overpayments and any overpayments recommended for write off
To ensure correct notification letters are issued for all overpayments raised and any enquiries are dealt with accordingly.
To endeavour to recover all overpayments using all available tracing sources such as the electoral register, LoCTA and CIS.
To ensure recoverable overpayments are correctly recovered utilising all available methods such as deductions from on-going Housing Benefit, landlord payments, or by issuing an invoice.
To ensure that the correct recovery rates are set and reviewed on a regular basis where deductions are being made from on-going Housing Benefit Entitlement.
For overpayments being recovered by invoice to ensure that the system has correctly issued reminders and final notices as required.
To liaise with claimants to make arrangements to pay their invoices and if appropriate to set up a Direct Debit.
To monitor all arrangements on a monthly basis and issue reminders as required including updating and maintaining computer and manual records as necessary.
To ensure that the recovery amount agreed on arrangements is reviewed as a minimum twice yearly.
To ensure that the correct recovery rates are set and reviewed on a regular basis including updating and maintaining computer and manual records as necessary.
To progress invoices for further action, such as attaching to certain DWP benefits, applying for a direct earnings attachment or third party payments, referral to a debt management company or referral for County Court Judgements
To liaise with the Sundry Debt Team for further action if appropriate, such as applying for a High Court Writ and referring to the Sheriff’s Office.
To adhere to the Overpayment Policy in line with changes to legislation and best practice.
Knowledge of Housing Benefit Regulations, circulars and specifically the guidance included in the HB Overpayments Guide.
Knowledge of the local council tax reduction scheme.
Effective liaison with internal and external departments including Housing, Council Tax, Debt Recovery Section and other Government bodies.
To deal with enquiries from claimants in person, by telephone or by written correspondence.
In the absence of the Overpayment Officer, attend relevant meetings as required such as the Kent County Overpayment Networking Group.
To carry out such other duties as may be required of you, commensurate with the grade and level of responsibility, as directed by management.
To participate as required in the Council’s Emergency Planning Operations which may involve duties outside the post holder’s normal job description and contracted hours. In the event that an incident has occurred which disrupts the council’s ability to deliver it’s critical functions, the post holder will be expected to participate in the recovery stage which may include undertaking duties within the post holder’s competencies in other departments and/or at other locations.
A commitment and contribution to the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy is an essential requirement of the post.
The post holder will carry out all duties and activities having regard to the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and in accordance with any instructions from senior members of staff under that Act or any Council or Departmental Codes of Practice or Procedures.
The post holder must ensure that data quality and integrity is maintained and that data is processed in accordance with council policy, the Data Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act and other legislation
The post holder will comply with Statute and Council Policy in all respects.
An awareness and commitment to section 17 which places a statutory duty on police and local authorities to work in partnership to reduce crime and promote community safety. It is also required that community safety is to be a thread running through all functions of the LA
A commitment to excellent customer service and the values of the Council
Salary Grade + Restrictions
Scale 2 - On appointment with no relevant experience
Scale 3 - One year relevant experience
Scale 4 - Entry point for graduates with relevant qualification or two years relevant experience
Ability to carry out basic Office skills
Ability to follow set procedures and routines
Knowledge of Gravesham Borough Council and in particular the functions of the Benefits Section
5 GCSE’s or equivalent A-C grade
Experience of using Microsoft Office
An awareness of good customer service
Good telephone manner
Good team player
Commitment to equal opportunities
Experience in customer service