The Department for Work and Pensions in collaboration with the Local Government Association and other government departments, has launched a strategy to join up services across and beyond government and simplify how older people are able to access the services and help they need.The Pension Service Local Service and local authorities are joining forces nationally to form ‘Joint Teams’ to provide integrated services focused on health, housing, benefits and social care for older people. The Joint Team will be an integrated partnership between The Pension Service Local Service and a primary tier local authority. The teams will be dedicated to developing processes that reduce duplication and focus on improving the service to the customer. Team members will be authorised to carry out administrative functions, such as information gathering and verification, on behalf of each of the partners. Staff will undertake single visits, taking claims across the range of benefits and, at the same time, making financial assessments for services.
The strategy also provides for Alternative Offices to receive and verify social security claims made by older people. These offices will include the local office of a voluntary organisation and the offices of a local authority which administers Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. The offices will be able to receive applications for Pension Credit and claims for other social security benefits from people who are aged 60 or over. Other benefits to be dealt with include attendance allowance, State pension and winter fuel payments. An Alternative Office will also be able to receive and verify Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claims.
The document Published by the Department for Work and Pensions is available at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2004/linkage/joint_teams/joint.asp