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Public performance reports

Benefits and funding administration

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our outcomes for 2022-27. Connect Outcomes 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 lives and prospects of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our outcomes show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

For daily updates, stories and what’s going on in your area, visit our information and news website South Lanarkshire View.

Each year we produce an Annual Performance Spotlights which summarise how we have performed in achieving our Connect Outcomes. To complement these we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports which focus on key areas of council business. This report outlines the performance of our Benefits And Funding Administration Service.

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.

Our performance in processing Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction is reviewed regularly by the Department of Work and Pensions, the Scottish Government and Audit Scotland.

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

Benefits average processing time

Average processing time for new claims – Target 15 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.

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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 14 days 12 days 13 days No
Scotland 16 days 17 days 18 days
How we have performed in improving this public service

The council achieved its target in 2021-22 of processing new claims, on average 2 days quicker than the target of 15 days. Our performance was also better than the Scottish average.

Average processing time for changes of circumstances – Target 5 days

What this means This indicator tells us how long we take, on average, to process a change in circumstances. We are measured on the average number of days to process a change of circumstances reported by an existing claimant. 
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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving
SLC 3 days 2 days 2 days No change
Scotland 4 days 4 days 5 days
How we have performed in improving this public service The council achieved its target for this indicator in 2021-22, on average 3 days quicker than the target of 5 days. Our performance was also better than the Scottish average.

Cost of benefit administration

Gross administration cost per case – Target £35.00

What this means This indicator measures the cost of processing a claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction per case and 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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving
SLC £33.89 £31.58 £34.34 No
Scotland £41.25 £40.97 Not available
How we have performed in improving this public service The cost of processing benefits in 2021-22 increased by 9% when compared to 2020-21, primarily due to increased employee and IT equipment costs.

Benefits Accuracy

Our accuracy in processing claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction was 94.4% in 2021-22, exceeding the target of 93%.

The Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) was created to provide a safety net for people on low incomes. It is a national scheme that helps Scottish households in need. Awards from the Fund are discretionary and are made by individual local authorities.

The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) Scheme is a government scheme administered by local authorities to provide people in financial hardship with assistance to meet housing costs.

The proportion of Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) Budget Spend

What this means The proportion of the budget set out for Scottish Welfare Fund that is spent at the year end. 
Why this matters This measure provides useful and timely insight on policy critical issues such as vulnerability, poverty and inequality and which will be increasingly important considering the cost of living crisis. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving
SLC 122.6% 110.1% 181.6% Yes
Scotland 108.8% 83.2% 115.2%
How we have performed in improving this public service

The increased proportion of SWF expenditure in 2021-22 when compared to the Scottish Government funding allocation is due to additional discretionary funding being provided by the council to supplement the SWF budget in 2021-22.

Actions:  The administration of the SWF will continue to be monitored closely and reported on a regular basis to ensure effective financial management of the fund.

The proportion of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) Funding Spend

What this means The proportion of DHP funding for the year that is spent at the year end.
Why this matters This measure provides useful and timely insight on policy critical issues such as vulnerability, poverty and inequality and which will be increasingly important considering the cost of living crisis. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving
SLC 105.7% 108.2% 101.9% No
Scotland 104.4% 97.2% 95.9%
How we have performed in improving this public service

Despite showing as a decline in performance, full DHP expenditure against budget was once again achieved in 2021-22.  South Lanarkshire’s performance also continues to be better than the Scottish average.

Actions:  The administration of DHP funding will continue to be monitored closely and reported on a regular basis to ensure effective financial management of the fund.

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

Information on national performance for speed of processing is available on the UK Government web page, Housing Benefit: statistics on speed of processing

Everyone is aware of the changes to benefits as a result of Government changes to the Welfare reform system. 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 and funding 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 Outcomes are prepared. See  Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 performance reports for further information.

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

Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) allows councils to work together, to use performance information in a way which will help understand variations, share knowledge, expertise and good practice, with a view to making improvements. For more information and links relating to this framework go to the 'Benchmarking' paragraph on the Improvement and how we compare page on our website.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2023).