Performance times – New claims

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    We are currently trying to find new ways for improving processing times.

    On a visit to an LA they said that for new claims where there was difficulty obtaining info quickly they would process the claim and then suspend.

    I don’t think that legislation allows this. If you have made a decision then you must have been satisfied with the evidence and therefore there is no right to suspend. You can only suspend if there is doubt to entitlement.

    I think that this was example was in a circular or best practice guidance from DWP maybe a few years ago as something that was not allowed.

    Does anyone remeber seeing this or have any comment on the practice.


    I think practice like that is wrong because it is done purely to make new claim stats look good, and has no benefit for the customer.

    In my view, new claim processes should be designed from the customer’s point of view, in order to pay the correct benefit as quickly as possible, rather than to meet arbitary targets.


    Thanks Sam

    I agree. I also beleive that the practice is wrong in law. I am trying to gather enough info for my manager who is under pressure to imporve our performance as we appear to be slower than neighbouring authorities.



    Just in case you are interested, we eventually found the circular

    Processing a claim and immediately suspending the award when there is insufficient information

    55 An authority should only make a decision on a claim to benefit where it has all the necessary facts at its disposal concerning the customer and their circumstances or where a negative inference can be taken from the customer’s failure to provide the requested information (regulation 89(2). It is difficult to imagine a more serious breach of the framework within which we expect authorities to operate than to knowingly award benefit when there is a doubt about entitlement.

    56 It is a requirement that following a decision, the authority must issue a decision notice to the customer (regulation 90), setting out a minimum of information on which the decision has been based. It is unlikely that any LA making an award on a defective claim could comply with this requirement before suspending the award.

    57 Apart from their failure to act within the law, any LA adopting this practice would delivering extremely poor customer service

    Thanks for the report.

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