Benefits Survey Feedback by liaoqinmei

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 8

									                               Benefits Survey Report

We conducted a survey of 150 new benefit claimants in November & December
2008, of those contacted 55 people took part in the survey (37%).

Question 1     How did you….

Claim?

35 said they claimed at the Dover Council offices (including Satellite offices).
4 said they contacted the DDC telephone helpline to assist with the form.
13 said they completed a form with the DWP or Pension Service.
3 said they claimed for benefit somewhere other than the above.
0 completed a form on the DDC website as we do not currently offer this facility.

Find out how to claim?

16 said they found out to how to claim at the Dover Council offices.
3 said they found the information on the DDC website.
4 said they contacted the DDC telephone helpline.
11 said they contacted the DWP or Pension Service.
18 said they found out somewhere other than the above.
3 people did not give a response.

Find out where to claim?

16 said they found where to claim at the Dover Council offices.
3 said they found the information on the DDC website.
4 said they contacted the DDC telephone helpline.
10 said they contacted the DWP or Pension Service.
16 said they found out somewhere other than the above.
6 people did not give a response.

Responses received

      Father in law told us about it.
      Housing officer advised on inspection of property.
      Son assisted in making an application, then a member of the Pension Service
       assisted his son and himself in completing the form.
      My husband had died the gentleman from the Pension Service phoned me to
       say he was coming to help me.
      Had an interview at the jobcentre and completed application over the
       telephone.
      Was already claiming benefit in another area and was told where offices
       were.
      Warmfront referred her to the Council and advised her to claim.

The results show that the availability of the electronic claim form is an important step
for the benefits section. This gives people the opportunity to claim in their own home.
There were quite a large percentage of people who found out how and where to
claim other than organisations like the Council or DWP. Perhaps more widely
available advertising and promotion of the benefits scheme is still needed, even if we
think information on this is widely available. The results show otherwise.




                                           1
Question 2     Did you find the claim form easy to complete?

45 said Yes.
7 said No.
3 people did not give a response.

11 people gave a response why they found it difficult.

Responses received

      Had help from Pension Service
      Completed form with DWP not DDC
      Completed form through the jobcentre
      Too much repetition, form not clear, not plain English
      Most of the form was difficult, the rooms in the house, not clear instruction
       what to put. No instruction leaflet with the application form.
      I am ill at present and needed assistance with the form
      English is not my first language

A large percentage of those who answered this question stated that the claim form is
easy to complete, and to follow through. Others, who had not completed this type of
form before, received help from the Pension Service visiting officers. This is an
important service, and perhaps could be advertised that this service is available.
One person did not receive the guidance notes with the application form, it is
important that this is included with the claim form.


Question 3     Were you aware what information was needed to provide with the
               application form?

43 said Yes
10 said No
2 people did not give a response

13 people gave a response why they were not aware

Responses received

      A few other pieces were asked for that were not stated on the form, such as
       CSA letters.
      Area officer told me what information I needed to supply. The staff at the
       counter sorted out what was needed.
      I had never claimed benefit before but I was visited by the Pension Service
       who advised what information was needed. They helped me complete the
       form and apply for pension credits. They explained DDC would write to me
       when Pension Credits awarded, as it might be possible for the HB/CTB award
       to be backdated for 1 year.
      My husband had died and I could not cope.
      Had never dealt with forms before as my husband had dealt with all
       paperwork.
      The jobcentre gave me no information at all; as I had never claimed before
       had no idea of the process. Read through the form but not aware what
       needed to provide. The application was not very helpful, the examples given
       were not clear.


                                           2
Question 4     Was further information requested from you after your initial
               claim?

26 said Yes
29 said No

Of those who said yes –
23 understood what was required. 1 said they did not understand
21 understood why the information was required. 2 said they did not understand
21 understood the time limit to supply the information. 2 said they did not understand

The results for this question show that nearly 50% of the claimants had to provide
further information with their application form. Although the application form does
give general examples of information required, it is not tailored to the individual
needs of the claimant. Even after the request was made, there were still people who
did not understand why the information was needed.


Question 5     When you received your award letter, did you read the entire
               letter?

41 said Yes
13 said No
1 person did not give a response

13 people gave a response why they did not read the letter.

Responses received

      Too much information
      Too long winded
      Just read the important bits, but he said he is happy that all info is in there
      The first page was frightening, took one look at the first page and folded it up
       and put it away. Son assisted in reading the letter later
      Did not have time as have small child
      Hilary explained entitlement letter, as it was very long
      Was too long, a bit lazy in not reading it all
      All I wanted to know is what I was entitled to
      Did not receive a letter confirming the benefit entitlement

Although the results were mainly on the positive side, the results show that some
people do not understand or have not read the award letter. This shows we may
need to look at the layout of the award letter so it is easier to read.
It has already been suggested that we have a front page confirming the entitlement,
and perhaps the payment only, then have the backing sheets after this.

We could also look at the suggestion that the award letter shows the shortfall in
rent/council tax each week (similar to DHP award letter).
Also we could look at the terminology on the award letter, so the legal terms on the
award letter are placed somewhere else. For example some organisations have their
terms and conditions (legal points) on the back of correspondence.




                                           3
Question 6     Did you understand the content of the award letter?

47 said Yes
7 said No
1 person did not give a response

Of those who said no –
1 said they did not know what the next payment would be
3 said they did not understand how the claim was calculated
2 said there was another reason other than the above

Responses received

      Cannot remember, not sure how much would receive
      The weekly conversion caused a few problems. Rent charge is monthly so
       wasn’t sure how much of the charge was paid through HB
      Didn’t know would be paid in arrears
      Did not receive an award letter


Question 7     Was it clear from the award letter what your actual benefit award
               is?

50 said Yes
4 said No
1 person did not give a response


Question 8     How did you find the length of the award letter?

16 said the letter was too long
0 said the letter was too short
38 said the letter was about right
1 person did not give a response


Question 9     How satisfied were you with the standard of communication with
               you?

24 said they were Very satisfied
27 said they were Satisfied
1 said they were Dissatisfied
2 said they were Very Dissatisfied
1 person did not give a response


Question 10 Are you aware what changes you need to notify us of in the
            future?

47 said Yes
7 said No
1 person did not give a response



                                         4
Of those who said no –
5 had read the examples given on the award letter. 2 said they had not.
6 said they would contact the council to report a change. 1 said they would not.


Question 11 Can you give any suggestions on how the Council could improve
            its claiming process with you?

We received 33 responses to this question

Responses received

Positive response

      I will be very honest with you, the whole claiming process including help at the
       local offices, the length of time waiting to hear from you was excellent. I could
       not wish more though I’ll be starting a new job very soon. Thank you very
       much for everything
      Had help from the Pension Service, form complicated in part. Was really
       helpful
      Straight forward and easy, award process is very quick, got letter within 2
       weeks
      Was very pleased with the speed of the process
      Was very happy with the service. The gentleman who visited from the
       Pension Service was a gentleman (presumably helpful)
      Very satisfied with the speed of service and the help from Hilary
      Very pleased with the service offered by Hilary and speed of service
      I was very happy that the lady from Pension Service called and helped me
       with all my paperwork after my husband died
      Very happy with the service, much better than Shepway Council, where just
       moved from
      Was satisfied with the service, thought the communication was excellent
      I was very happy with the way my claim was dealt with, the lady who was
       dealing with it could not have been more helpful
      Had no problems, the whole process was really quick
      Was very happy with the service
      I am satisfied with the way the service is running


Constructive response

      Rent Rebate was very efficient, but the tax rebate (Council Tax?) is very slow,
       still not heard yet, can it be done together?
      A much simpler award letter, someone to explain what the amounts are. Visit
       would be more helpful rather than letter as cannot leave house often.
      Found the application form unclear as to which parts to be filled in, was only
       applying for CTB so completed the whole form including the HB parts. Would
       like to see them separated
      Was not aware of Hilary’s appointment system, as said would have found it
       easier to have appointment with somebody who could help fill in the form in
       one go. Completed form with DWP, and with DDC
      To not take up on individual mistakes by the applicant, time limits for
       providing information are too short and there is no give or take.



                                           5
      Time limit was confusing – claimant was applying for other benefits through
       DWP and the time limits for those were longer
      The customer felt very strongly about inappropriate behaviour at the Dover
       satellite office and was made to feel uncomfortable by inappropriate
       comments by staff concerning other claimants attending the office and lots of
       joking around. Was not made to feel welcome and that queries were being
       addressed seriously
      The only thing I can suggest is that I could have had better information from
       the jobcentre
      A one-page award letter showing the award would be helpful. To be able to
       complete an application form over the telephone is very helpful. As out of
       work don’t have access to internet so wouldn’t want to fill out claim form on
       the internet if this was available
      Was told incorrect advice at the benefits office. Was told didn’t need to
       provide any information with the claim form, then advised had to provide info.
       When went to visit the Whitfield office again, was informed that info was not
       needed and claim had been paid. The customer services officer was not
       strictly helpful. The examples on the award letter for change of circs are not
       entirely clear. First time claiming so plain English advice and explanations
       why info was needed, and how benefit calculated would be helpful
      When you request further information please use plain English in your letters
      Claimant downloaded application form on line, the form was not received at
       the offices and no trace of it could be found. Claimant had to complete
       another form which delayed her benefit entitlement
      Initially the claimant was not happy over a misunderstanding. The officer
       dealing with the claim did not seem to understand. Once this was sorted
       claimant was very happy with the service


The Survey
                             Total            Participated         Percentage

Customers surveyed           150              55                   37%
Postal letters sent          65               14                   22%
E-mail letters sent          20               2                    10%
Telephone surveys            65               30                   46%
Internet surveys on-line     0                0

Of all the postal surveys sent out, we then contacted a further 31 people that
had already been sent a postal or e-mail letter and had not returned this. A
further 9 surveys were completed.

In total 96 people were contacted by telephone, and 39 completed a survey.
This is a 41% success rate. Of the surveys completed 71% were by telephone.

This shows that perhaps we could use our resources better. Rather than
continually sending request letters, contacting the customer by telephone
could be more beneficial as the response level we received was much higher
than sending letters out.




                                          6
Question 12 Are you?

25 were Male
30 were Female


Question 13 What is your partnership status?

18 said Single
16 said Married/civil partner
9 said Separated
4 said Divorced
7 said Widow/Widower
1 person did not give a response


Question 14 What age group do you belong to?

0 said Under 18
7 said 18-24
22 said 25-45
6 said 46-60
19 said over 60
1 person did not give a response


Question 15. Do you consider yourself to have a disability?

11 said Yes
41 said No
3 people did not give a response

12 people gave further information about this

Responses received

      I suffer from arthritis, which is progressively worsening
      Have hearing problems so would prefer letter requests
      Cannot walk very far hip operation, a visit would help
      Diabetic and arthritic
      Bad back, medically retired, received Incapacity Benefit and DLA
      I currently have lung cancer, and COPD and infacema. Only has lung
       problem. Diabetes and Arthritis


Question 16. What faith group do you belong to?

41 people responded
14 people did not give a response


Question 17. What is your sexual orientation?

45 said they were Heterosexual


                                          7
1 said they were Bisexual
4 said they would not like to say
5 people did not give a response


Question 18. What ethnic group do you belong to?

48 said they were White British
2 said they were Other White European
1 said they were Bangladeshi
3 said they were Eastern European


Analysis of the results

Of the customers surveyed 93% said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with
the standard of communication. This is positive news for the benefits section.

Many customers praised the Council for the speed of processing time to assess their
application. This is a real positive step for the benefits section, compared to the
length of time it took to process new claims several years ago. I note there is no
information on the DDC website to state how we are doing in processing times.

Some customers had visits from the Pension Service and found this very helpful.
Others had visited Hilary and found this service very helpful as well. Some customers
were not aware of this service, and this is something we need to promote more.

Several people commented on the award letter and did not read or understand this. It
has already been suggested that a covering page should be issued showing basic
information. We could also look at the amount of information on the award letter.
Perhaps this could be presented more effectively.

As the department is looking to enhance its welfare strategy, there are several
elements that could be looked at. The service provided by Hilary has been praised,
and could be expanded. We could look at using trained visiting officers to collect
information, particularly those with mental or physical difficulties.

As some people did not understand the award letter, or how the claim was calculated
perhaps we could offer an officer who could be contacted to better explain benefit
awards. They may be able to offer better insight than customer services officers.

The availability of the electronic claim form is an important step for the benefits
section. This gives people the opportunity to claim in their own home.
Some customers like the telephone claiming process with the DWP, is this something
we could also offer potential customers?

There were quite a large percentage of people who found out how and where to
claim benefit from other sources, rather than organisations like the Council or DWP.
Perhaps more widely available advertising and promotion of the benefits scheme is
still needed, even if we think information on this is widely available. The results show
otherwise.




                                           8

								
To top