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Public Performance Reports

Benefits administration

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our objectives for 2012-17.  Connect ambitions and objectives should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others.  In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our ambitions show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

Each year we produce an Annual Performance Report which details how we have performed in achieving our Connect objectives. To complement the Annual Performance Report we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports.  This report outlines the performance in relation to our benefit administration and how this links to the outcomes of our ambition to ‘Tackle poverty, disadvantage and deprivation'.

Benefits administration

The council is responsible for the administration of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction:

  • Housing Benefit is administered on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and provides assistance with rented housing costs to those on low incomes. 
  • Council Tax Reduction (previously known as Council Tax Benefit) reduces the amount of Council Tax payable for those on low incomes.

Follow the link to our website for information on other Benefits available.

Benefits average processing time

Average processing time for new claims – Target 21 days

What this means This indicator calculates how long we take, on average, to process a claim for Housing Benefit.  We are measured on the average number of days taken to process a new claim for Housing Benefit.  From 2013-14, this performance indicator is reported for Housing Benefit claims only but remains comparable to previous years when Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims were jointly reported.
Why this matters It is important that the council process new claims for Housing Benefit timeously to ensure that customers are able to meet their rental obligations and sustain tenancies.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 21 days 22 days 21 days Yes
Scotland 26 days 23 days 23 days
How we have performed in improving this public service

The council achieved its target in 2015-16 and processing of new claims took, on average, one day less than the previous year. We continually review our processing arrangements for new claims to improve our performance in this area. Our performance was better than the Scottish average.

Average processing time for changes of circumstances – Target 10 days

What this means This indicator tells us how long we take, on average, to process a claim for Housing Benefit.  We are measured on the average number of days to process a change of circumstances reported by an existing claimant.  From 2013-14, this performance indicator is reported for Housing Benefit claims only but remains comparable to previous years when Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims were jointly reported.
Why this matters It is important that the council processes changes which impact on customers’ Housing Benefit payments timeously to ensure that payments are accurate.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving
SLC 7 days  7 days 6 days Yes
Scotland 9 days  8 days 7 days
How we have performed in improving this public service The council achieved its target for this indicator in 2015-16 and processing of changes took, on average, one day less than the previous year. Our performance was also better than the Scottish average.

Cost of benefit administration

Gross administration cost per case – Target £33.00

What this means This indicator measures the cost of processing a claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction per case and also measures the gross cost of providing the service across a weighted caseload.  Different types of claims have a different weight depending on the relative complexity of processing the case. 
Why this matters Although it is important to achieve improvements in benefit processing timescales, we have to demonstrate that we are working efficiently and minimising administrative costs. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving
SLC £31.83 £27.93 £26.15 Yes
Scotland £41.40 £40.14 £39.47
How we have performed in improving this public service The cost of processing benefits has decreased between 2014-15 and 2015-16 which indicates that the council is becoming more efficient in processing benefit claims. In addition, our costs are consistently well below the Scottish average and we were ranked 4th out of 32 Scottish councils.

Areas for improvement and action

We will take forward the following key areas for improvement:

  • Poverty levels had been reducing, but are expected to increase in the future for a number of reasons, including benefit changes linked to Welfare Reform, low wages, and under employment/zero hour contracts.  This may lead to increased demand for council services at a time when public finances are facing significant financial challenges.  In this context, the council is tackling disadvantage and deprivation by focusing efforts to target resources at those who need them most and improve the efficiency of our services.

Further information

Follow the links to our website for further information about services and how to access them:

Government changes to the Welfare reform system has resulted in changes to benefits .  The council is working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions in the rollout of the changes and has a dedicated “Benefits are changing tenant liaison team” to help tenants cope with the changes.

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year. Performance and actions relating to Benefits administration can be found in the Finance and Corporate Resource Plan.

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans. In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect Objectives are prepared - see Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 progress reports.   

More information on council objectives can be found in the Council Plan Connect  and also the Annual Performance Report.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2017).