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PLANS TO LET PRIVATE FIRMS SET BENEFITS

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The government is proposing to allow private contractors to determine whether people are entitled to claim benefit,...
The government is proposing to allow private contractors to determine whether people are entitled to claim benefit, in an attempt to remove a barrier to firms taking on benefit work.

Social security minister Roger Evans made the announcement this week to accompany Sir Paul Beresford's changes to the CCT regime.

'Some local authorities have expressed concern that existing legislation prevents contractors who undertake housing and council tax benefit administration from carrying out determinations of benefit entitlement. This causes unnecessary double handling of claims and reduces the efficiency of contracts which local authorities are able to negotiate,' he said.

Mr Evans hoped the proposed change would encourage councils to run pilot schemes to establish whether they would like to contract out such work permanently.

Consultation on the change will be announced shortly, he said. He intends to enact the new arrangements by amending the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act.
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