Targets and Housing Benefit

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    I was hoping to get a bit of discussion going with this post (but knowing my luck I will probably get no replies).

    A few years ago, the government got rid of our performance standards, and most of the BVPIs, leaving with us with just our Right Time and Right Benefit indicators. In April the Right Benefit also disappeared.

    The new coalition government seems very keen (based on various ministers quotes, particularly Eric Pickles) on giving LAs power to do what they deem best for the customer, without too much interference.

    CAA has ended, and KloE with them. In is uncertain what the future of the Audit Commission will be.

    It looks like there is going to a culture change for LAs. Throughout my ten years working for LAs there has always been a target culture, but it looks like this is going.

    How do other HBInfo members think this will affect us working in HB?

    What local targets do you have at the moment? Do they have a positive impact on the service? Are you planning on keeping them?

    Are targets beneficial, or do they have a negative effect on the service? I know some members have used John Seddon ‘Systems Thinking’ type methods to deliver the service, and these do away with targets. How well does this work? What do managers higher up the food-chain think about the lack of targets?

    What do team leaders think of targets for their team (e.g. assessment quotas)? Do they help motivate your team? If you don’t have targets, how do you ‘performance manage’?

    Is you are an assessor, do you have personal assessment targets? If you do, what do you think of them? Do they encourage behaviours that may not be beneficial to the customer (e.g. making claims unsuccessful to get a target)? If you don’t have a target, are you clear about what is expected of you?

    Any comments, views, or ideas about this are very welcome.


    We pay lip service to targets now. NI 181 is monitored and we have a few local ones to do with number of changes and fraud activity. We also benchmark with other local authorities but in an era of staff cuts and increased claims the whole target culture is meaningless. In fact I have suggested to HM government (via their website) that they do away with it completely. You could save a couple of posts here the amount of time we spend working out the correct dates for the MIS fields on Northgate and then data cleansing SHBE. Pointless


    Has KLOE gone? I must have missed that. Do the Audit Commission know that?


    I don’t think they have officially gone yet, but as far as I am aware the AC have put their pens down, and are waiting for further instructions….


    We carried out a systems thinking review – my only capability measures are around what matters to the customer – is my claim right and has the benefit been paid quickly
    we measure end to end times from claim date ( even if this is before the app comes to the council) to the date claim assessed. Currently around 6 days – our RTI is 4 days

    We do not measure activity or productivity – we deal with customer demand as it comes to the service – you can’t ask an assessor to do 10 claims per day if they don’t get 10 claims to do


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