Backlog strategies

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    Does anybody have any experience of the following strategy for dealing with backlogs in processing?

    1. Choose an arbitrary date and on that date split the work into backlog and current.

    2. Manage the two separately, so that current is always up to date and backlog does not get any bigger.

    3. Reduce backlog using separate backlog team.

    We really need to try something new and I have heard this is a successful strategy. I’d be grateful for any thoughts.



    We did this at the suggestion of the DWP help team. It worked with our backlog, unfortunately due to staff issues we ended up with another backlog but our dates moved considerably.

    It was worth it.


    It’s a way to start, as at least you will be hitting some targets if you deal with the post as soon as it is received. But use the day you decide to split as the ‘date’.

    You will also find some staff may not be happy with the ‘unfairness’ i.e. Mr X has been waiting 8 weeks whereas Mr Y gets paid straight away.

    We also used a method of distributing proofs received to the person who requested them. This saves time in ensuring everything is received, and they will be aware of what is required.

    Depending on how old the backlog is and the numbers involved you may be able to allocate a smaller team to deal with it.

    Good luck.

    Angeline Smith

    We’ve used this method in the past, and will probably use it again if we need to. Being a small LA, we had to ask staff to do overtime and work weekends etc – it can only really work if none of your staff have a day off, annual or sick, for the next six months which is pretty unlikely!!

    We were struggling at the end of June, only just keeping within target but at that time we were splitting work into priority – cancellations, private tenants etc. We visited another LA who had been advised by DWP to take the view that nothing had priority over anything else, everything’s urgent – we thought it was slightly mad and unrealistic but we’ve been doing it since the end of June and have managed to stay well within completed date target – today we are working on post that came in on 01.11.04. It might be worth a trying it on the split that you are trying to keep up to date.

    Trevor Kenward

    We have also used a cut-off date and prioritised the daily incoming work first. As an ongoing exercise I tend to search at least once a week for any erroneous documents(we use Dips) and complete them so they do not keep recurring as outstanding work. This can also be used as a ‘quick-fix’ where there is a big backlog.
    Hopefully find that a lot of of the oldest documentation requires little or not action


    Thanks for the replies. Lots of food for thought!



    I have been involved where this approach has been adopted, I confess I was not convinced it would work but it certainly did. I guess though it is about having the right staff on the project ie those who get stuck into the mound and relish seeing it go as opposed to those who would then likely go off with stress! Well maybe not but you get my point.


    We recently had exactly this problem at Stroud following a change over in IT systems a year ago! We tool this approach in July 04 and cleared a backlog that had been around since Sept 03! We are now upto date.

    As for the fairness issue we had on simple rule. If someone contacts us to query why their claim is delay we process it there and then as we found its quicker to do it than to argue and explain our policy.Also, staff performance doubled by using this approach.

    We also deleted unecessary stages in our processing and buck passing trying to make one person make the decision on a case instead of two or three.

    Hope this helps

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