Abstracts: October 31st, 2001

This report is one of The Audit Commission’s series ‘Learning from Inspection’. It draws on the best value inspections of council’s benefit departments which revealed wide variations in performance. While most councils process claims in five weeks, some take 100 days. Administration costs vary from 50 pounds per claim to 200 pounds. The variations are between similar councils and the Commission concludes that the basic problem lies in organization and management. The Commission accepts that housing benefit regulations are complex and may be part of the problem, but it urges councils to improve their services. Among the recommendations is a call for strong leadership and good performance management.Published by The Audit Commission www.audit-commission.gov.uk   <http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk