The Department introduced a statutory based review process in November 2001. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision taken by the Department in relation to an Area-based Scheme, they may submit a review application. Where the Case Officer Stage review has determined that the Department’s original decision was correct and the applicant remains dissatisfied, they may apply for an independent panel assessment of their case upon payment of the £200 fee. The Independent Panel hears the case and makes a recommendation to the Minister, who makes the final decision.
The Review of Decision process has to be fit for purpose, making sure that applicants receive the payments they are entitled to, while protecting public money by ensuring that payments comply with the requirements that govern the schemes.
Minister Poots has instructed the Department to review the Review of Decision making procedure and to introduce legislation to give the Independent Panel the final decision making powers in cases that they hear.