Public performance reports

Benefits administration

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our objectives for 2017-22. Connect Priorities 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 Priorities 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 Priorities. 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 Benefit Administration Service.

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. We are measured in the following areas:

  • Processing Times
  • Cost of Processing
  • Benefits Accuracy

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.

Average processing time for new claims – Target 17 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 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Are we improving?
SLC 16 days 14 days 12 days Yes
Scotland 22 days 16 days 17 days
How we have performed in improving this public service

The council exceeded its target in 2020-21 of processing new claims, on average 5 days quicker than the target of 17 days. Our performance was also better than the Scottish average.

Average processing time for changes of circumstances – Target 6 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 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Are we improving
SLC 4 days 3 days 2 days Yes
Scotland 5 days 4 days 4 days
How we have performed in improving this public service The council achieved its target for this indicator in 2020-21 and processing of changes was better than the previous year. Our performance was also better than the Scottish average.

Gross administration cost per case – Target £25.00

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 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Are we improving
SLC £30.87 £33.89 £31.58 Yes
Scotland £39.50 £41.25 £tbc
How we have performed in improving this public service The cost of processing benefits has increased in 2020-21 reduced by 7% when compared to 2019-20, primarily due to reduced employee and central support costs.

Benefits Accuracy

Our accuracy in processing claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction was 93% in 2020-21 achieving the target of 93%.

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 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 Priorities are prepared

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. At the core of the framework is an agreed suite of performance indicators. We report the results for these indicators, over time, on the website. Additionally, you can compare our LGBF results with other councils' using the mylocalcouncil tool. Not all local authorities are alike and so family groups of eight ‘similar’ councils have been set up for comparison purposes. Workshops take place throughout the year to discuss the indicators and results – South Lanarkshire Council is actively involved in these discussions

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (November 2021).