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Councils receive £33 Million for Housing Benefit

8 July 2003

The Government is to make available £33 Million to local authorities to help improve the way housing benefit is administered.

The cash, announced by Housing Benefits Minister Chris Pond, comes from the Performance Standards Fund of £200m and will be distributed to 212 local authorities across the UK.

Councils will use the money to improve the speed and accuracy of processing claims and preventing and recovering overpayments, by addressing two major areas: the recruitment, training and retention of staff; and developing new IT systems, such as document management and workflow.

Nearly £6m will be distributed among 22 London boroughs for projects. The full list of London awards is detailed below.

 - Barking & Dagenham to receive £124,154 for recruitment and training of assessment staff 
 - Bexley to receive £46,750 for recruitment of assessment staff and recruitment of visiting staff 
 - Brent to receive £559,000 for recruitment and training of assessment staff; retraining of existing staff; DIP and workflow 
 - Bromley to receive £102,907 for a training officer and outreach team 
 - Ealing to receive £465,227 for recruitment and training of assessment staff, and home working 
 - Greenwich to receive £379,310 for OP software 
 - Hammersmith & Fulham to receive £90,500 for the expansion of DIP to area offices; process re-engineering and training 
 - Hammersmith & Fulham and Harrow to receive £339,000 for recruitment and training of assessment staff 
 - Haringey to receive £199,300 for recruitment and training of assessment staff; and recruitment and training of visiting staff 
 - Havering to receive £115,021 for a training officer, the recruitment and training of OP staff, and recruitment and training of pre-assessment staff 
 - Hillingdon to receive £122,000 for recruitment and training of assessment staff and a training officer 
 - Islington to receive £862,485 for recruitment and training of assessment staff 
 - Kensington & Chelsea to receive £400,800 for a benefits system 
 - Lambeth to receive £537,793 for DIP and workflow system
 - Lewisham to receive £166,334 for recruitment and training of assessment staff in partnership with Jobcentre Plus 
 - Merton to receive £13,155 for recruitment and training of visiting staff 
 - Newham to receive £507,468 for recruitment and training of assessment staff, and recruitment and training of customer service staff 
 - Redbridge to receive £234,492 for recruitment and training of pre-assessment staff and a benefits system 
 - Richmond upon Thames to receive £39,877 for recruitment and training of assessment staff 
 - Sutton to receive £25,200 for process mapping / re-engineering 
 - Waltham Forest to receive £441,107 for a DIP and workflow system; and equipment for training 
 - Wandsworth to receive £74,700 for recruitment and training of assessment staff 

Speaking about the new cash, the Minister said: "I am pleased to announce this substantial investment of £33m in the administration of Housing Benefit which will target funds in a focused way. It shows our commitment to working in partnership with local government to support and improve their performance. In return, however, we expect real improvements in the speed and accuracy of claims processing."

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