Agenda item

Highlight report and Balanced scorecard

Report by Stuart Philpot, Strategic Manager (Support Services) ARP.

 

Minutes:

The Head of ARP presented the report.

 

Benefits Performance

 

Housing Benefits performance was close to meet the year-end targets; however, this was not the case for all the Councils.  Four of the Councils as shown on the balance scorecard, the target for processing of Council Tax support cases was not likely to be met and it was expected that the final year end figure for these Councils would be 9 days against a target of 8 days. Members were reassured; however, that going into 2018/19 appropriate measures had been put in place in relation to resources, for the peak periods, and should therefore level the performance.

 

Fraud & Compliance Performance

 

Targets were being achieved.  During the year the Team had identified several dwellings and businesses either not registered not having had an undeclared change in use that had led to increased charges - in some cases significant higher retrospective charges.  Finding cases that should be registered would be ongoing but in time it would reduce.

 

Revenues

 

Performance targets continued to be met in all areas with the exception of Non-Domestic Rates collection for Fenland, Waveney, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury Councils due to the significant amount of refunds as a result of successful appeals by ratepayers against their rateable values.  The Finance Teams were aware.

 

Support Services

 

This year’s annual billing had gone very well and had been the smoothest year thus far.  All bills had been sent out on time and no issues had been raised.

 

Digital Transformation and Self-Service

 

The 2018 Annual Billing included in excess of 10,000 Council Tax payers and Housing Benefit recipients opting entirely to receive their bills and notifications electronically thus saving postage and all could access copy of their bills etc on-line.  The new on-line forms being designed was going well but there had been issues with provider.  The Team continued to work with the provider to hopefully resolve these issues. 

 

Councillor Hay asked a question in relation to benefits processing and wanted to know how this could improve.  Members were informed that this had been due to staff shortages but this was no longer the case and therefore should now improve.

 

In response to a further question in relation to Council Tax correspondence and the reason why the trend had reversed in December, Members were informed that work was ongoing with the Operational Improvement Board to review the staff resource in the Council Tax section.  There had been a similar trend in Housing Benefit with high volumes of correspondence and telephone calls in the first couple of months and the OIB was looking at better ways to manage this busy time period.

 

Councillor Claussen wanted to know how ARP’s targets compared nationally.  In response, Members were informed that at this point in time, new claims took approximately 18-20 days and a change in circumstances around 5 days.  This compared to the national average of 22 days and 9 days.  The OIB was going to re-visit some of these performance targets.

 

Councillor Edwards asked for the full years out-turn performance information to be sent to Members when available.

 

ACTION: Circulate year end performance information to all ARP JC Members.

Supporting documents: