Burnley Borough Council provides services to around 89,500 citizens in an area of Lancashire some twenty one miles north of Manchester and twenty miles east of Preston. During the Industrial Revolution, Burnley became one of Lancashire’s most prominent mill towns: at its peak, it was one of the world’s largest producers of cotton cloth and a major centre of engineering.
Burnley has retained a solid manufacturing sector and has strong economic links with the cities of Manchester and Leeds, as well as neighbouring towns along the M65 corridor. It has a reputation as a regional centre of excellence for the manufacturing and aerospace industries.
In recognition of its continued success, Burnley received an Enterprising Britain award from the UK Government, for being the “Most Enterprising Area in the UK”.
The Government has released a National Disability Strategy focused on accelerating the local delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant. This means there is a renewed focus on Councils to spend their allocated grant budget effectively and manage cases within the 180 day target.
More than 2 out of 3 Councils currently fail to meet this target and require assistance in streamlining the whole process to ensure grants are processed efficiently, within target timescales and to provide a better service to the end user.
Burnley, as with many other councils, had a backlog of cases (for Burnley this was in excess of 90 cases) ranging up to 12 months in age since initial referral, and was looking for a solution to both address the backlog but also to streamline the process going forward.
Burnley Borough Council engaged with Liberata Property Services to find a solution to the problem and use our extensive experience to address this issue. Liberata introduced a process to support the mean testing of cases to reduce the time from referral to approval, using pass ported benefits and access to Government systems to manage this process efficiently without the requirement for home visits at the application stage.
The Liberata team then supported Burnley’s Technical Officers and Occupational Health professionals in surveying the properties and offering support in contractor management, scheduling, detailed design work and tendering.
Liberata created a full end to end process of contractor engagement, procurement, management and ultimate sign off to increase performance in this area, saving money for the Council, maximising the Grant budget, all whilst ensuring a better result for the end user.
- Within 4 months Burnley Borough Council reduced their backlog to zero and Liberata are jointly working on all new cases as referred Reduction in admin time, eliminating the requirements for officer time visiting homes and obtaining evidence
- Benefits checks are now undertaken on request and returned within minutes 30% saving on sanitary ware costs
- Burnley Borough Council have seen a reduction of 30% in their costs for plan drawings by using Liberata’s services
“Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic many inspections for disabled facilities grants had to be put on hold, which led to a back log of inspections and a waiting list for customers. In March 21 we appointed Liberata to increase technical capacity, they have been very supportive, with this additional capacity we have cleared the back log and there is no longer a waiting list for a first visit to our customers.”
Clare Jackson, Private Sector Housing Manager, Burnley Borough Council