We were delighted to see that five of the local authorities we work with have been highlighted as some of the fastest councils in England when it comes to processing housing benefit claims.
The study by the Office of National Statistics looks at the average time it takes to process new housing benefit claims and handle change of circumstances to an existing claim across over 400 local authorities, and rounded to the nearest day.
Whilst the average speed of processing the claims has increased to 20 calendar days, a number of our local authority customers who use our services and support have well surpassed that, achieving a turnaround time of 10 days or less.
Amongst the speediest local authorities listed, our customers featured as follows:
- 3rd fastest – North Somerset Council with 6-day turnaround.
- 4th fastest – Pendle Borough Council with a 7-day turnaround.
- 5th fastest – London Borough of Hounslow with an 8-day turnaround.
- 6th fastest – Redcar and Cleveland Council with a 9-day turnaround.
- 6th fastest – Burnley Borough Council with a 9-day turnaround.
In regions where we deliver contracts, our customers were amongst the top performing in the Southwest, (1st), the Northwest (1st and 2nd), the Northeast (1st) and London (1st).
These unprecedented results reflect the way we strive to deliver the best performance, not just for the local authority but for the customer too. With housing benefit primarily given to pensioners and those in the social care system, ensuring that they receive their money as quickly and as painlessly as possible can make a huge difference to them. This is particularly important in these difficult and uncertain times and is why we prioritise the most vulnerable groups at every point in the process.
For the most vulnerable, we have set a target of two days for processing new claims.
Ensuring the application system is streamlined and efficient also helps to reduce the number of calls to the Council and minimise the pressure on shrinking budgets and hard-pressed teams. Our quality service and support has also provided essential capacity and capability at times where councils have had to respond to unexpected situations. This includes scenarios such as distributing Covid-19 grants and energy rebates whilst still having to maintaining a high standard of customer service, both offline and online.
Everything we do is underpinned by our seven disciplines: service knowledge, service quality, performance, workload, development, digitisation and automation.
The ONS study comes as Liberata is named as a top three finalist in three categories at this year’s Institute of Revenues Rating Valuation (IRRV) Performance Awards. This includes the Team of the Year category and Excellence and Innovation of the Year, reflecting the quality of both our revenues and benefits team and the approaches we use. This shortlisting is yet another testament to the way we strive to deliver excellence in everything we do.