Benefit of swift service

PUBLISHED: 16:40 28 September 2007 | UPDATED: 23:04 28 May 2010

FENLAND District Council has made one of the most dramatic improvements in processing benefits of anywhere in the country, according to new nationwide statistics. When it comes to processing new benefit claims, Fenland now turns them around in an average

FENLAND District Council has made one of the most dramatic improvements in processing benefits of anywhere in the country, according to new nationwide statistics.

When it comes to processing new benefit claims, Fenland now turns them around in an average of 14 days, making the council the fourth fastest in the country.

This is a remarkable improvement. In 2006/07 it took 45 days to process new claims and in 2005/06 the process took 73 days on average.

By streamlining the way benefit claims were dealt with, the council has not only cut the time it takes to deal with new claims, it has also slashed the time it takes to deal with benefit changes from 37 days in 2004/05 and 22 days in 2006/07 to the current average of just eight days.

When it comes to dealing with benefit changes, Fenland is among the top 25 per cent of local authorities.

Putting customers first has been at the core of the present success. It has lead to a focused approach to reducing processing times and it has played a major role in reducing poverty and preventing evictions and rent arrears.

Councillor Kit Owen, portfolio holder with responsibility for benefits, said: "This is a truly remarkable transformation and the benefits team are to be congratulated for the dramatic improvements they have made in processing benefits in such a short space of time. It is a tribute to their hard work that we are fourth in the country for the speed with which we process new claims.

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