Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

BFI REPORT: EDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Comment
The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate's (BFI) report of its inspection of housing and council tax benefit administration a...
The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate's (BFI) report of its inspection of housing and council tax benefit administration and counter fraud activity by Eden District Council was published today by the secretary of state for social security.

Inspectors found that the council's staff had a strong commitment to ensuring that claims are processed quickly, benefit payments are paid promptly and that overpayments are recovered wherever possible.

The report notes a reasonable standard of claims verification and inspectors anticipated further improvement once the impact is felt of the council's implementation of the verification framework.

The BFI had a number of concerns including a lack of management information that is necessary to support the council's benefit operations. This, combined with inadequate targets, measurements and procedural guidance meant that management were taking organisational decisions based on insufficient information.

Management checks were found to be minimal and provided little assurance that fraud and error was prevented from entering the benefit system.

The report notes that the council was failing to use its prosecution policy. Additionally, there was no clear policy to define which sanctions were considered appropriate and there had been no fraud prosecutions or administrative penalties during the three years prior to the inspection.

The BFI makes a number of recommendations to help the council to improve its administration and counter fraud activity for housing benefit and council tax benefits. The BFI are encouraged by the council's response to its findings and the steps that it has started to take to carry out its recommendations.

Inspections are carried out with agencies and local authorities and the BFI is working to raise standards and spread good practice. Through its recommendations, improvements can be identified to safeguard current systems and inform design for the future.

Social security minister Jeff Rooker announced the publication of the report in response to a parliamentary question from Mr Andy King (Rugby and Kenilworth).

Notes

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 for social security, and to promote good practice.

2. Each inspection 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.

A copy of the report can be found on the internet at: http://www.dss.gov.uk/hq/bfi.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.