Lewes District Council

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Corporate Performance
Lewes District Council
Southover House
Southover Road
Lewes
East Sussex
BN7 1AB

Tel: 01273 484156
performance@lewes.gov.uk
Minicom 01273 484488

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Revenues & Benefits - Policies & Performance

Responsible for the administration of Housing and Council Tax Benefits, the administration and collection of Council Tax and Business Rates and the investigation of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud.

Councillor James Page

Foreword by Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Communications, Councillor James Page

I am pleased to introduce the Revenues and Benefits Divisional Service Plan for the year ahead.

The current economic climate has placed great strain on this important area of the Council’s business. Whilst it would be easy to remain static during this difficult period, rising expectations from our customers need to be reflected in the way we deliver our services and to that end there are plans in place to realise new developments and opportunities to help us deliver affordable and effective services over the coming years. Despite the difficult conditions experienced during 2010/11 the benefits service delivered improved quality and speedier benefit decisions throughout the year.

I believe that the initiatives set out in this plan will result in further improvements in how this section of the Council works and will make the services more accessible whilst improving the speed and efficiency with which we can serve our customers.

Services

Aims, Objectives and Outcomes

We aim to:

 Objectives  Outcomes
To promote the availability of financial assistance with rent and council tax and collect local taxes, fees and charges efficiently and fairly. 1) Maximum collection of Council Tax and Business Rates;
2) Contribute to reduction in fuel poverty in the area
3) Charge payers can pay in as many ways as possible.
4) Improve financial inclusion in the area
5) Charge payers can access services easily.
6) Local businesses receive more financial help as a result of our efforts to promote and encourage take up of entitlement.
To administer housing and council tax benefit speedily, accurately, fairly and securely. 1) Those residents in most financial need are identified, targeted and supported.
2) Claimants are paid the right amount of benefit at the right time.
3) High levels of user satisfaction.
4) Use the benefit system to help reduce homelessness and evictions.
To deal with Benefit Fraud thoroughly, fairly and effectively. 1) Minimise impact on public purse
2) Successfully prosecute fraudsters
To improve services and performance to meet customer needs and relevant national and local performance standards 1) Positive external audit reports
2) Good performance compared to similar councils and providers
3) High levels of user satisfaction.

Service Standards

In addition to our Customer Charter we have adopted the following service standards that you can expect from us.

Council Tax/Business Rates Collection

Council Tax/Housing Benefit Administration

Benefit Fraud Investigation

Equalities

Under the General Public Sector Equality Duty (2010) we must :-

  1. eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation;
  2. advance equality of opportunity between different groups in the community; and
  3. foster good relations within the local community

We carry out equality impact assessments (EIAs) for new or existing policies, strategies and services to see what effect they will have on different groups within our communities.  This helps us to identify potential consequences for these groups and ensure any negative impacts are eliminated or reduced.  They can also help us to identify actions to eliminate discrimination and promote positive relations between groups which are incorporated into our Departmental Service Plan.

Further information is available on our Equalities Policy and for copies of our Equality Impact Assessments.

Developing and Improving our Services

We have assessed the risks and the main drivers for change likely to impact the services during 2011/12:

National impacts

Local impacts

Performance, Progress and Forward Plans

We have reviewed our progress and performance last year.  A summary is provided here.

PDF
PDF Revenues and Benefits Division – Service Plan 2010/11 – Progress and Performance Report  (0.17mb)

Our detailed plans for the year ahead are set out below along with an overview of our service level resources. This Plan will be monitored regularly;
PDF Revenues and Benefits Division – Service Plan 2011/12 (0.02mb)

Department Policies & Strategies

We publish the details of how we organise and decide the various aspects of our work. The policies list the rules we work to and the strategies show what we are planning to achieve and how. 

PDF
PDF Benefits Service Policy and Strategy (mb)