We are preparing to support our local authority partners with the delivery of the Housing Benefit Award Accuracy Initiative. Although work isn’t scheduled to start till October 2020, participation in this project needs to be confirmed by the 18th September 2020. As the deadline is fast approaching, we wanted to share some common questions and apprehensions as well as answers to help you make the right choice for your local authority.
Due to the economic downturn, we are expecting an increase in our day to day operations. Therefore, we are apprehensive about taking on this additional work at this time.
While many local authorities understandably share this concern, the Housing Benefit Award Accuracy Initiative will become mandatory from April 2021. Partnering with NPS to supply any additional resources you require, will allow us to identify potential challenges and embed robust processes ahead of the roll out of the mandatory exercise. Additionally, having an established relationship with NPS means you can scale up resources if there is a significant or unplanned increase in your day to day work.
We have not yet decided whether we will participate in the voluntary work between October 2020 and March 2021.
We understand that current challenges mean local authorities need to think carefully about how this will impact their internal resources. However, time is running out. By opting in now, you will be ahead of the curve enabling us to secure resources, establish IT connectivity, and work with you to embed your local policies and procedures. What’s more, although the DWP has guaranteed the funding levels for this project at present, this could change once the initiative becomes mandatory.
We would prefer to keep this work inhouse. However we currently do not have the resources available to assign to this work.
If you would prefer to utilise your internal resources to deliver this work, our Revenues and Benefits Assessors can provide additional resilience capacity to manage your day to day caseload. All of our Revenues and Benefits Assessors are highly experienced in all aspects of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction assessment, and our flexible resourcing model can be scaled rapidly to meet changing demands so you only pay for the support you need.
We have significant concerns about creating any large overpayments right now.
We understand the impact of overpayments on both the council and its citizens. However, identifying these cases early on will result in the overpayment being much lower than it potentially could be in April 2021. This means citizens will have less debt to repay and the council will have less debt to collect.
The DWP call on 13th August 2020 highlighted the importance of keeping accurate Management Information, as well as locally identifying cases that have already been reviewed. We’re concerned that outsourcing this work will result in cases being reviewed more than once.
We consider the accuracy of Management Information to be an hugely important aspect of all the projects we deliver. To ensure accuracy, we developed a bespoke performance and case management system, Perform © which can be tailored to suit the delivery of any and all of our projects. Using this system, we can accurately account for all cases handled during this Initiative, ensuring the unnecessary duplication of work is entirely avoided.
If you would like to discuss how NPS can support you with this work, please contact Leigh Barber on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)7584 183615.