Headlines: May 11th, 2004

The City of Edinburgh Council is to pilot an interactive on line form for Housing Benefit. Access will be available from home, council offices and libraries. The technology will be supplied by Comino, which provides workflow and electronic document management based systems to over 400 organisations in Local Government, Social Housing and Occupational Pensions. The Department for Work and Pensions will contribute 750,000 pounds towards the cost of the project.Benefits Online will enable citizens to check their benefit entitlement via an online benefits calculator and complete the claim application in one sitting. Edinburgh and Comino are developing intelligent forms with help functions and advice to ease the application process. Once complete, the application will be submitted directly into the Council’s Electronic Document Management and Workflow system and the core Revenues and Benefits’ system.

The system aims to prevent duplication of effort and eliminate data inaccuracy. It is expected that processing times will be significantly improved and that the online help facility will result in fewer customer enquiries. For those potential claimants who want help they will be able to call the help line at a call center.

As a National Product the project will be developed and refined before it is offered as a framework for the rest of the UK.