Issue - meetings

Benefits Verification Policy

Meeting: 12/03/2019 - Cabinet (Item 89)

89 Benefits Verification Policy pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To define the standards of verification for evidence required in respect of Housing Benefit claims and the Local Council Tax Support Applications, to help protect public funds from fraud and error (report of the Portfolio Holder Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).

 

Please note that the appendices associated with this report are not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 7 (Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime) in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and are therefore attached to this agenda as item 20.

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which defined the standards of verification for evidence required in respect of Housing Benefit claims and Local Council Tax Support Applications, to help protect public funds from fraud and error.

 

DECISION:

 

a)    That the Benefits Verification Policy be approved, with implementation from 1 April 2019; and

 

b)    That subsequent annual reviews and revisions be delegated to the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) and the Portfolio Holder for Finance.

 

(Other options considered:

·         Do nothing.

Reasons for decision:

·         The new Benefits Verification Policy will help prevent fraud and error at the same time as ensuring a clear and consistent standard approach to the evidence requirements and verification to support new Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support claims and changes in circumstances.)

 

(The Housing Landlord Services Manager,  the Digital and Customer Access Manager, the Head of Service – Revenues and Benefits (CPBS) and the Recovery and Support Team Leader left the meeting following discussion of the above item.)


Meeting: 05/03/2019 - Policy Development Panel (Item 63)

63 Benefits Verification Policy pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To set out South Hollands approach to verification of evidence in relation to claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support to help prevent fraud and error. (Report of the Executive Director – Commercialisation enclosed).

 

(Please note that some appendices associated with this report are not for publication by virtue of paragraph 7 (any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime) in Part 1 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972, and are therefore attached at agenda item 16).

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director – Commercialisation which sought to present the proposed Benefits Verification Policy for consideration. It was the aim of the policy to define the standards of verification for evidence required in respect of Housing Benefit claims and Local Council Tax Support Applications, to help protect public funds from fraud and error.

 

The Operational Benefits Manager introduced the report. The digital performance agenda had been taken into account, meaning that the processing of claims via the Council website was a priority service and works were underway to ensure that the technology was suitable.

 

Members stated that they had concerns over vulnerable people’s ability to apply for benefit. The Operational Benefits Manager responded that there was a function to allow for visiting officers to be deployed to assist with vulnerable peoples’ applications. He also stated that unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done to adjust the application process, as this was statutory.

 

The Vice-Chairman stated that he felt that the policy was just too operational to be scrutinised.

 

AGREED:

 

a)    That the Panel notes the content of the report and recommends its approval to Cabinet on 12 March 2019.

 

b)    That subsequent annual reviews and revisions be delegated to Executive Director Commercialisation (and S151) and Portfolio Holder for Finance.