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SOUTH HOLLAND'S BENEFIT SYSTEM IS EXCELLENT

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The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) has today published a best value ...
The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) has today published a best value

report on the administration of housing benefit and council tax

benefit by South Holland DC.

The report finds that the benefits service provided by South Holland

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

benefits services.

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

service.

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.

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