report on the administration of housing benefit and council tax
benefit by South Holland DC.
DC is excellent and has excellent prospects for
improvement due to the wide range of measures it has put in place. It
is judged to be a top performing authority for the provision of
The report commends the good practices and strengths of the council.
These include clear and challenging aims for the benefits service;
the involvement of staff and customers in developing these aims; the
commitment of elected members and officers to the principles of best
value; the lessons learned from complaints which have improved
performance and the high quality of customer service.
Underpinning the council's excellent prospects for further
development is a wide range of performance improvement measures.
These include the continuous review of its services; a commitment to
staff training; the use of 'Best Value Driver Days' involving staff;
the use of customer surveys; the monitoring of performance; and the
plan to put in place a new project called 'Get Connected' that will
address how the council delivers all its services to customers. The
report recognises that the council has worked hard to bring about
significant step changes to improve despite the already excellent
The BFI makes a number of recommendations which collectively will
assist the council in moving forwards.
An inspection was carried out last December under the government's
best value scheme which places a duty upon all councils to deliver
the most economic, efficient and effective services possible. A
judgement is made using a three star system on whether performance is
excellent - 3 star, good - 2 star, fair - 1 star or poor - no stars.
The benefits service of the South Holland DC was judged to be three star.
In 2000/2001 the council paid out some£9.1m in benefits. This
is around 29% of its gross expenditure.