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PUBLICATION OF BFI REPORTS: TRAFFORD & KIRKLESS MBCs

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The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate's (BFI) report of its inspection of ...
The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate's (BFI) report of its inspection of

Housing and Council Tax Benefit administration by Trafford

MBC has been published by the social security secretary.

The inspection found that the council has a strong commitment to

customer service and takes an active approach to encouraging take-up

of benefits.

Trafford uses IT systems to improve the service to customers, and has

an efficient benefit administration system.

In its counter-fraud work the council has developed good working

relationships with the Benefits Agency and other authorities, and

uses data-matching to ensure any discrepancies are detected.

However the BFI identified several areas where improvements were

necessary, and made recommendations to help the council to achieve

better performance.

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.

The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate's (BFI) report of its inspection of

Housing and Council Tax Benefit administration by Kirklees MBC was also published by the DSS.

The BFI found that there was scope for improvement in Kirklees'

benefits service. The authority has acknowledged that improvements

can be made and is implementing a strategy to raise standards. A

restructuring exercise involves new IT systems, improvements in

management control and a reorganisation of staff.

The council's counter-fraud activity will be enhanced by its recently

introduced prosecution policy, and by plans to improve verification

checks on claims.

The inspection identified several areas of weakness which need to be

addressed by Kirklees Council, and the report makes recommendations

aimed at helping the authority deliver improvements where they 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.

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, 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.

3. Media copies of the reports can be obtained from:

Corporate Document Services, Order Line, Savile House,

Trinity Arcade, Leeds LS1 6QW. Tel: 0113 399 4040. The

reports are also available on the internet.

Internet address: http://www.dss.gov.uk/hq/index.htm

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