Housing benefit and council tax support service delivery policy and strategy
1. Policy objectives
- claimants promptly receive the benefit to which they are entitled
- the amount paid is correct every time
- it is accessible to everyone in our community
- customers are encouraged to claim and receive the maximum benefit they are entitled to
- maximise recovery of overpaid benefit where appropriate
- seek continuous improvement on performance
- support for the Council’s Vision and Corporate Strategic Priorities, aligning delivery with other Council services.
2. Policy statement
2.1 The Council is committed to providing an effective and secure service. It is aimed to reduce the risk of fraud and error. It does this by using efficient procedures in accordance with regulations.
2.2 The Council is committed to paying the right amount of benefit, to the right claimant at the right time.
2.3 The Council seeks to provide a service that is accessible to all. It will achieve this by automating the assessment process. In addition, it will maximise online services to free up other customer service channels for those who require them.
2.4 The service will maximise efficiency. It will achieve this by automating the assessment process and implementing innovative technology. This will keep turnaround times in the upper quartile within reduced budgets.
2.5 Service delivery and resources will be reviewed annually. Particular reference will be given to the impact of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) policy in respect to the rollout of Universal Credit.
2.6 Benefit decisions will be accurate because of a robust Quality Assurance plan. This will ensure customers receive the correct amount of benefit and public funds are protected.
2.7 The service will employ staff who work within our Corporate Values, and ensure morale is maintained. This seeks to provide a high standard service delivery, addressing under performance as set out in its Performance Management Policy.
2.8 The Council will work with the DWP and the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) to identify and prevent fraud, and to review 2 controls in place.
2.9 Recovery of overpayment of Housing Benefit will be maximised as set out in the Housing Benefit Overpayment Policy.
2.10 The service will work with departments across the Council. This will provide a joined-up customer service which does not conflict with other corporate objectives.
2.11 The Benefits Service will work with stakeholders to identify any barriers to service delivery and to review its Council Tax Support Policy.