ELMBRIDGE BOROUGH COUNCIL
The BFI found that Elmbridge provides a good quality benefits service with many good practices in place, especially in staff management and quality control checks.
The council also performs well in counter-fraud activity, carrying out good investigative work. However the BFI also makes recommendations where improvements can be made to the services the council provides.
The BFI found that Thanet has an efficient and effective benefits administration system, and operates a number of good practices. It has particularly good performance in provision of customer service, and has built up a good relationship with local landlords.
The council is also successful in its counter-fraud activities, with staff at all levels committed to preventing and deterring fraud.
The report points to areas where the Council can further improve its standards and provide an even better service.
OLDHAM METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL
The BFI found that Oldham is committed to administering benefits accurately and has made improvements since recent restructuring.
The council has a progressive counter-fraud section, and has recently implemented the verification framework, which through a system of checks and visits to claimants ensures that housing benefit payments are made correctly.
The report makes recommendations where improvements to the council's work can be made.
The government is committed to securing the system against fraud. The BFI is playing an active role in this process through the inspections programme.
The BFI carries out its inspections of end to end processes in partnership with agencies and local authorities, and is working to raise standards and spread best practice. Through its recommendations improvements can be identified to safeguard current systems and inform design for the future.
1. The BFI is an independent unit within the Department of Social Security set up to inspect social security benefits administration and counter-fraud activity within DSS agencies and local authorities, to report to the secretary of state, and to promote good practice
2. Each inspectorate report is considered by the secretary of state who decides whether any further action is appropriate. The secretary of state has powers to issue directions to a local authority to secure acceptable/minimum standards in performance.
Internet address: http://www.dss.gov.uk/hq/index.htm