Front desk staff doing input

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    At my LA they are thinking about getting staff on the HB/CTB customer service desk to input claims and changes as they receive them.

    Has anyone else out there tried this, and if yes, can you share your thoughts/comments/suggestions/observations, etc, about this?

    Bascially, does it work?

    Obviously, this could benefit speed of processing.

    However, we have a number of concerns, mostly around the potential for input error, and missing potential fraud, if staff are inputting claims in the pressurised arena of the front desk.

    Thanks for your help


    Depends on the changes…

    Some simple looking changes can have complicated effects on awards…

    I’d rather they did not action changes. 😀


    We have recently started to implement this at my authority

    By appointment the customer can see the benefits officer at the local customer service point and they will interview and discuss the claim and the details.

    Within 24 hours the claim will be processed – we have decided not to process most of the work directly with the customer, as you say this cannot always be done. The Benefits officer works on the frontline Monday, Wednesday and Friday, leaving two days in the back office to work on the caseload


    It proved difficult here to get the front line staff to input claims as it was too time consuming. Instead, they issue the initial evidence request letter at the desk. If all the evidence is received at the same time as the claim, they mark it as fast track. This has helped our process time.

    Hope this helps.


    We tried offering a ‘while you wait’ service for new claims earlier in the year. Where information was missing we would call them and tell them what was needed. If they could bring it in within 24 hours we would offer toprocess the claim awhilte they waited. It was so succesful only 2 people over three months took us up on it!

    Never the less we are now looking at processing some changes at reception.

    Staff are mostly concerned about dealing with complicated issues face to face. We need to decide if we will leave it to peoples discretion what they do at the time or not.

    The other issue is on salary. If reception staff are now being expected to process claims etc will this have an impact on their job descriptions and grade?


    This seems to be the holy grail of Benefits processing “The real one-stop-shop” where a customer hands in an application form and walks away with a notification letter after seeing a member of staff.
    You have not stated if Benefit officers will be pulled from the back office or if “multi skilled” customer service staff will be used?

    Customer Service staff assessing =
    I have never seen this work recently and can usually cause friction between Benefits and Customer Service teams.
    This may have worked when we had simpler renewal processes.

    Back Office staff being pulled see below

    Virtually all Local Authorities have attempted it. Most have gone for something similar to about 2 Benefit Assessors being pulled from their back office role to a 1 day a week front desk role in rotation for all back office staff. (depending on the size of the authority)

    1) Back Office staff resenting working on the front desk.
    2) If most claims are not handed incomplete then the whole process becomes pointless – the back office staff skills are used only as form checkers, telling customer what extra information they need.
    3) only works for complete claimed handed in. If they are posted in then you are missing 2 good needed staff from the back office.
    4) Decision making can become clouded. There is sometimes a loss of impartiality. – Most front desk staff have regular customers.

    1) It can promote better front/back office working relationships.
    2) When it works, it really does work quite well especially for the back office staff who are normally withdrawn from the personal side of assessing. There is nothing like seeing a customers smile. Also the ability for the assessor to see first hand the difference their job can make to other peoples lives.

    Most authorities start off attempting to offer a “whole” service and then scale it back to a level that is suited to them.

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