PCC Housing by gabyion

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									Housing & Council
Tax Benefits

BFI Inspection 2003
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003



 Contents:

   Benefit Fraud Inspectorate Standards
   BFI Overall Scoring - links to CPA
   PCC‟s CPA track record for HB
   BFI recommendations




             Housing Service   2   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

 The BFI Standards

   Standards are assessed in 7 elements of the HB Service:

      Strategic Management
      Customer Services
      Processing of Claims
      Working with Landlords
      Internal Security
      Counter Fraud
      Overpayment management



           Housing Service   3   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


 BFI Overall Scoring and links to CPA

    Each of the 7 elements has a range of best practice standards
    associated with it.
    The overall % of best practice standards that are met dictates
    the CPA score
        <40% = 1 (Poor)
        40-59% = 2 (Fair)
        60-80% = 3 (Fair)
        80%+ = 4 (Excellent / Good / Fair to Good)



            Housing Service    4   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

 PCC‟s CPA track record for HB
    2002
       BFI standards released
       PCC completed initial “partial” self-assessment
       BFI “desk top” inspection and one day visit
       PCC rated as Poor = CPA score of 1
    2003
       PCC completed a full self-assessment
       Full 3 week BFI inspection
       PCC rated as Fair = CPA score of 2
    2004
       PCC target to achieve CPA score of 3


            Housing Service    5   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

 PCC Standard Scores for 2003

   Strategic Management      135   / 209 = 65%
   Customer Services          54   / 92 = 59%
   Processing Claims          52   / 96 = 54%
   Working with Landlords      9   / 28 = 32%
   Internal Security          18   / 33 = 55%
   Counter Fraud              41   / 117 = 35%
   Overpayments               28   / 55 = 51%

      Overall average                     53 % = CPA 2 rating
                             (2004 target 60 % = CPA 3 rating)


           Housing Service    6    Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


 Recommendations - Strategic Management

   Member endorsement of Strategic Plan
   Document and test a Disaster Recovery Plan
   Review and complete procedural guidance
   Management check 10% of cases
   Capture and use management information:
      Overpayment recovery
      Customer Service standards




           Housing Service    7    Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

 Recommendations - Strategic Management

   Introduce quarterly reviews of IT user access / profiles
   Implement IT fault management procedures
   Include the IT system in the Service Disaster Recovery Plan
   Submit and track action plans in response to Internal and
   External Audit reports
   Ensure action plans are endorsed and monitored by Members
   Formalise and document internal relationships e.g. with Legal
   Services
   Document an SLA with the Inland Revenue for the Tax Credit
   scheme


           Housing Service    8   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


 Recommendations - Customer Services

   Ensure information leaflets and posters in Area offices are
   current and complete
   Produce management information for telephone answering
   Ensure appointment times are allocated within 14 days of
   contact
   Monitor letter quality and responsiveness - 80% in 14days
   Immediately amend decision notices in line with regulations
   (pending new IT system)



           Housing Service    9   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


 Recommendations - Customer Services

   Implement annual check of facilities for the disabled
   Routinely offer home visits to assist customers
   Review services to the minority ethnic groups in the area
   Consult customer representative groups
   Use customer consultation to plan service improvements
   Assess and respond to the access needs of working
   customers




           Housing Service    10   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003



   Recommendations - Customer Services

      Establish links with Jobcentre Plus to facilitate fast-track
      claims
      Implement systems to monitor the standard of appeal
      submissions
      Monitor and track appeal referral progress
      Set internal targets for appeal submissions




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Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations - Processing Claims

      Decide on 90% of new claims within 14 days of receiving
      all information
      Completes all claims in 36 days or less
      Implement exception reporting to identify claims not
      reaching standard for claims processing
      Introduce a monthly age analysis of payments made in
      excess of 4 weeks
      Monitor payments on account to ensure compliance with
      Regulation 91(1)
      Monitor payments on account in payment for >4weeks


          Housing Service    12   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations - Processing Claims

      Include reference to reporting Changes of Circumstance in
      all correspondence
      Communicate consequences of not reporting changes
      Process Changes of Circumstance within 9 calendar days
      Identify and support customers needing help with claim
      forms
      Introduce exception reporting with reasons for delays in
      processing renewal claims
      Implement 10% quality checks pre-notification and more
      where warranted


          Housing Service    13   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003



   Recommendations - Processing Claims

      Monitor applications to the Rent Officer in 3 working days
      Ensure prompt returns of Rent Officer determinations
      Monitor the SLA with the Rent Officer
      Decide claims with 2 days of receipt of determination




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Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


   Recommendations - Working with Landlords

      Finalise, issue and regularly review the Landlord
      Information Pack
      Formally remind Landlords of their responsibilities at least
      annually
      Execute plan to hold Landlord forums from Sept 2003
      Clarify Claim form consent wording
      Monitor staff compliance with guidance for sharing
      information associated with direct payments



           Housing Service     15   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


   Recommendations - Working with Landlords

      Introduce clear policy on Housing Service enforcement
      action for arrears due to unpaid HB
      Ensure information is passed to Housing Service where
      Tenancy records are incorrect
      Formally encourage Landlords to contact the authority
      before court action
      Introduce procedures to recover overpayments from
      Customers for specific direct payment issues




          Housing Service   16   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


   Recommendations - Internal Security

      Review Post-Opening procedures to ensure all security
      risks are addressed
      Introduces a specific supervisory role in the Post Room
      Develop a secure process for handling returned HB
      cheques
      Adopts numbered, bound registers to record items of value
      Introduce a procedure to provide an audit trail for valuables
      in the authority‟s possession



           Housing Service    17   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations - Internal Security

      Review recruitment policy to ensure stringent checks in
      relation to named previous employers
      Carry out checks to verify authenticity of personal referees
      Introduce review procedures to control and monitor IT user
      and system administrator access
      Document procedures for stopping cheques
      Fully document procedures to monitor cheques not
      presented
      Securely collates information in respect of spoiled cheques



           Housing Service    18   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations – Counter Fraud

      Revise Prosecution Policy to be consistent with Service
      guidelines
      Publicise the Anti-fraud strategy internally and externally
      Produce a specific “business plan” for Counter Fraud
      Document procedures for Counter Fraud officers
      Review and improve existing referral form
      Document procedural guidance for use of the new referral
      form
      Improve the process for acknowledgement and feedback
      on referrals
      Deliver annual fraud awareness sessions to all PCC staff


           Housing Service    19   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003


   Recommendations – Counter Fraud

      Publicise the Counter Fraud team and the “hotline” to
      encourage referrals
      Monitor and track the number and quality of referrals
      Review and improve the analysis of referrals and risk areas
      Develop a procedure to prioritise Fraud team work based
      on risk assessment
      Subscribe to the National Fraud Hotline




          Housing Service    20   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations – Counter Fraud

      Document a procedure to set out the approach to data
      matching
      Include Taxi drivers, Door Persons and Licensed traders in
      internal data matches
      Sifts data matches on receipt and ensure resource is
      allocated to prompt investigation
      Prioritise National Fraud Initiative data matches
      Provide annual reports to Members, Senior Officers and
      the Audit Commission



          Housing Service    21   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations – Counter Fraud

      Update the „Do Not Redirect‟ procedure to reflect advice in
      HB Circular F13/1999
      Review appointments of authorised individuals for
      relevance and need
      Register all authorised individuals in accordance with HB
      Circular F11/2001
      Monitor the activities of authorised individuals to ensure
      compliance with legislation and their effectiveness
      Urgently introduce the „Code of Conduct‟



           Housing Service    22   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations – Counter Fraud

      Start investigations within 5 days of receipt of referral
      Introduce management check to tackle delayed
      investigations
      Record statements from customers on appropriate forms
      Introduce a document retention procedure to ensure
      consistency of approach
      Improve investigation record keeping to provide audit trails
      and ensure compliance with legislation
      Introduce monitoring to ensure completion of QB50
      notebooks


           Housing Service    23   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations – Counter Fraud

      Introduce and record Management checks of investigations
      Report Fraud case management to managers monthly and
      Members quarterly
      Ensure Investigators receive annual and interim feedback
      on their performance
      Monitor the minimum standards in the fraud partnership
      agreement
      Include specific targets in the Fraud business plan for the
      number of cautions, admin penalties and prosecutions
      Ensure rigorous recovery of fraudulent overpayments
      Publicise suitable cases as a deterrent


           Housing Service    24   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations – Overpayments

      Agree and implement a clear HB overpayment recovery
      policy – document related procedures
      Process Change of Circs resulting in benefit reduction
      before next benefit pay-day
      Set targets to achieve top quartile for overpayment BVPI
      Review use of standard rate deductions
      Agree an SLA with Debt Management to recover HB debt
      from other social security benefits
      Document procedure to ensure an audit trail of
      overpayment recovery action is available from EDMS / SX3


          Housing Service   25   Putting People First
Housing & Council Tax Benefits
BFI Report Summary 2003

   Recommendations – Overpayments

      Recover overpayments where Sect 75 of the Social
      Security Act 1992 applies
      Develop a Debt Strategy that sets targets for reduction in
      overpayments as % of benefit spend, level of HB debt and
      age of debt held
      Appoint a Debt Manager
      Improve performance data to include HB debt outstanding
      and recovery by type
      Report HB debt raised, recovered and written-off to
      Members annually


           Housing Service    26   Putting People First

								
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