Report says council takes too long to settle benefit claims

Report says council takes too long to settle benefit claims

Reporter:

Francis Batt

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Report says council takes too long to settle benefit claims

Too long is still being taken to process benefit claims.

The failure was admitted in a report on key performance targets considered by Royal Borough cabinet members at Thursday's  meeting.

But it was not all bad news.

Members were told that the average number of days taken to process housing and council tax benefit claims has dropped from an average of 17 days in September to 11.65 days in December - well on the way to meeting the target of 11 days.

Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham) who is cabinet member for finance admitted it was a tough target to meet. He said: "Applications have gone up in the tough economic times we live in. We are now dealing with 6,000 applications a month."

The borough is also having problems meetings its target for seeing people who walk into the Town Hall within 10 minutes, largely because people tend to come in at once during their lunch hour.

But well over 90 per cent of customer phone calls are now being picked up, a major improvement over five years ago when 40 per cent were being dropped.

Cabinet members agreed to continue producing 'scorecards' enabling them to continue monitoring the Royal Borough's performance.

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