National study shows that our clients are some of the fastest councils at handling housing benefit claims


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.

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As a Council we are focused on ensuring that the services delivered are both sustainable and of the highest quality. We are delighted to be working with Liberata to help deliver these services on behalf of our residents and businesses. Liberata stood out with its ability to drive transformational change and improve customer access and digital services.
Richard Baker
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Liberata is the ideal delivery partner to help us achieve our aims, whilst ensuring we can drive down processing times and improve the service for our customers. Council tax and business rates collection will improve, ensuring that we have the funds to deliver the vital services that have a positive impact on residents’ lives. We look forward to working closely in partnership with Liberata to help achieve our aims
Rebecca Keene
Broxbourne Borough Council
Eastleigh Borough Council has worked with Liberata for a number of years who undertake the council's empty home reviews, and I must say, their service exceeded all expectations. From start to finish, they demonstrated professionalism, efficiency, and a genuine commitment to addressing this critical issue in our community. Thanks to Liberata, the council has been able to maximise our empty home bonus year on year. This positive impact on our community cannot be overstated.
Kerrie Thomas
Eastleigh Borough Council
The RV Finder service from Liberata has really helped us ensure that our data is as accurate as possible and, when the VOA has processed the outstanding cases, I fully expect to see more than £1,000,000 of additional RV. The “risk and reward” model works well and the Council only has to pay for their success and the service is something that we will use on a regular basis.
Steve King
Leicester City Council
Liberata has been empowered to create a seamless integration with technology to digitally transform the Revenues and Benefits service whilst trying to protect local jobs. The joint strategy has helped to deliver innovative solutions that have exceeded expectations, whilst providing savings to the authority. This surge in digital engagement has helped deliver strong year one outturn with electronic billing and the technology will enable us to show improvements in the benefits speed of processing and in Council Tax processing of moves, discounts and exemptions.
Andy Stevens
Swindon Borough Council