Audit Commission report; “expenditure on benefit administration”

Councils’ expenditure on benefits administration Using data from the Value for Money Profiles, January 2014

The Audit Commission advises that councils  directly funded £829m in direct and admin costs of the HB/CTB scheme.

The Audit Commission acknowledges that administration costs had fallen by 3.1 per cent

"While recognising that the number of claimants has risen, this data suggests that councils could do more to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their arrangements for administering benefits with the aim of reducing the overall cost that falls to them.

Councils should consider how they can reduce their costs and increase the amount of subsidy they receive by administering benefits more efficiently, processing claims quickly and accurately and reducing errors, overpayments and fraud"

One key area of concern is the strong rise in total overpayment; up by 11% year by year (hbinfo believes the total amount of debt is significantly higher than that declared of 1.3 billion)