Interventions Going

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    Following my stumbling across an interesting posting on the best practice board I have only just found out that the requirement to do interventions will go in April.

    What will others be doing in their place, if anything?


    It’s all here.

    We heard the following a short while ago:

    “In broad terms, we are looking to a PM that measures the volume of reductions (including terminations) in benefit both declared by claimants “voluntarily” and detected by yourselves as a proportion of weighted caseload. This will subsume the visiting PM and BVPI (though PM11 will remain) and will remove the need for a reviews activity target. DWP will continue to provide existing products such as data-matches and risk-based reviews and will develop new ones including those currently being piloted if appropriate, but the onus will be on Las – supported by good practice guidance – to choose the approach that best suits them. It will be very important to ensure that claimants are encouraged via publicity and mailshots etc to declare their changes on time as this will have a more positive affect (sic) on the PM than detection activity.

    Please bear in mind that this is still subject to Ministerial clearance and that considerably more detail will be provided in the near future.”

    I understand that some authorities are already piloting this way of working. Any out there?


    Hmm, pity all those LAs thaat recently employed lots of Visiting Officers for their interventions.


    I’ve got a good way of finding reductions in benefit. If we ditch the verification framework and pay everybody what they want we can catch them out later and create an overpayment – as The Pension Service do already. We will then meet our target. Sorted!

    Ozzies Mate

    Can anyone give me a link to the actual newsletter please as we are undergoing a restructure & have that awful feeling that this may not have been taken into account :15:


    I feel like billing the DWP for the money we’ve wasted recruiting VOs and puchasing wireless software/hardware for them to use. I’ve only got the staff I have because of their stupid visiting target; it was never going to be a cost effective way to work for a large rural authority like ours with a predominantly pensioner caseload


    I too would be grateful for a pointer to where this has come from. I’ve trawlled the DWP and London Councils web sites but I can find any thing.


    Nor me, Darren. 😳
    Before mass panic sets in, together with redundancies and compulsory culling of visiting officers, it would be good to see the article referred to? 8)


    fao Chris Dring

    i’ve always thought the visits target was stupid, which is why we dug our heels in & continued to do welfare visits only – was bliss to hear Jaya Karlekar from HBSD who said she invented the concept of VF admit in July that postal claims are as effective as visits …….in fact the whole VF regime was stupid & only evolved to bring those LAs into line who weren’t applying the rules properly. It led to stupid ticksheet syndrome, taking on of loads more staff with no better customer service given and infilling of suprious data fields that were sent to Central Govt and NEVER used for analysis – what a waste of time that was . I felt vindicated on 1st April when VF was officially no more!


    Below the text of the letter sent from LGA to CEx – hardly likely to be on a public web-site

    [i:1f4f4c151a]BENEFIT UPDATE – September/October 2006

    Some of the key HB/CTB issues/developments are discussed below.

    The Welfare Reform Bill

    This has now moved into the Committee stage within Parliament and those discussions are likely to influence the final content of the proposed Act.

    Local Housing Allowance – no planned changes from the scheme announced as part of the Consultation exercise. It is however likely that there will be a provision covering “Benefit Direct” in the Social Sector.

    A number of LAs have already asked about “set-up” funding for the national roll- out. The position is that DWP are not allowed to announce details of these provisions until the Bill becomes an Act. The LGA has already requested that a Project Board be set up to plan for implementation and funding will be high on the agenda for such a group.

    Anti Social Behaviour Provisions – there seems to be a degree of misunderstanding around this area. The proposals within the Bill do not include a national roll-out to all LA’s but make provision for a 2 year Pilot Exercise covering up to 10 LAs.

    IT FLOW Project (replacing the RATS)

    It appears that the problems encountered during July have been resolved although other operating issues arose during the first few days of October, which prevented LAs from accessing the system. Roll-out is nearly complete and DWP will shortly be contacting LAs to ascertain their requirements for additional users.

    Work has recently been completed on the Appendix to the Memorandum of Understanding, which covers Home Working. The Associations have requested a number of amendments and the majority of these have been accepted by DWP. There are however a few items on which DWP will not amend their original proposals, the main one of these being the use of Wireless technology. DWP’s Technical Security Division will not sanction the use of this system although a Pilot is being undertaken to ascertain the risks involved.

    Administration Subsidy Allocation – 2007/08>

    A circular has just been issued which gives details of the allocations for 2007/08. The first point to make is that the total available remains at £555m and therefore this will be the second year running when no provision for inflation has been made. This represents another cut in real terms for LAs. The Local Authority Association made strong recommendations to DWP regarding the calculations undertaken under the Transitional Protection Scheme.

    The LGA were very concerned about the number of authorities who would incur a 10% reduction in their Administration Grant and recommended that the same 0% cap on losers that applied during 2006/07 be applied to 2007/08. Unfortunately, the LGA recommendations have not been accepted by DWP and therefore the maximum loss in real terms can amount to 12.5%. Such reductions will potentially impact on service levels and/or council tax.

    It is regretted that the position for future years does not improve and there is a strong possibility that this funding could be reduced even further. The DWP have already been notified of their Departmental Settlement for the 3 year period 2008 to 2011 and this represents a nil inflation provision plus an additional efficiency saving of 2.5% each year. DWP have indicated that the Administration Grant settlement to LAs could follow these levels.

    A great deal of work will be required by all involved to ensure that the current level of delivery and improvement in performance is maintained. The LGA is arranging to make senior representation to Government in an attempt to retain and maintain a realistic level of funding for this service. It would be helpful in making our case if you could let us have information on the likely impact on the delivery of the benefits service of the proposed levels of funding. Replies should be sent to

    [b:1f4f4c151a]Amendments to Performance Standards (Fraud)

    Work has been completed on the proposed amendments to operate from April 2007 and details will be issued to LA’s once Ministerial approval has been given.

    The main proposal is to create an Output Measure by which DWP can monitor Fraud and Error in the system. They propose using HBMS to examine each LA’s caseload at the start and end of each month to establish the total reductions achieved when an award is reduced or cancelled. This reduction will then be set against a target for each LA, which will be obtained using the Weighted Caseload measure. Each LA will be able to monitor progress against its target by reference to the DWP Web Site. The original data problems appear to have been overcome and all the LAA’s have endorsed this new measure.

    As a result, PM 10 and 12 will no longer apply, thus leaving each LA to determine its own strategy for improving performance in this area.

    It is very difficult to project outcomes on any new measure and therefore the LGA will be monitoring progress at regular intervals.

    [/b:1f4f4c151a]Joint LGA/DWP seminar on housing benefit processing – 2 October

    Around forty delegates recently attended a joint DWP/LGA workshop convened to consider further efficiencies in housing benefit processing. We are grateful to those who took the trouble to attend and for the quality of the debate. A note of the discussion will be circulated shortly.

    Comments, questions and suggestions on the content of this and future issues can be made to:

    Frank Newton LGA


    Tel. 07766 105711[/i:1f4f4c151a]

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