New research published today by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) examines Local Authority (LA) knowledge and experience with respect to the following subject areas:
- Direct payments and Local Housing Allowance (LHA) safeguards
- Discretionary Housing Payments
- Customer satisfaction
- Decision notices
The report presents summary findings from distinct sets of questions placed on the Department for Work and Pensions Local Authority Omnibus Survey regarding how LAs administer and manage aspects of Housing Benefit (HB). The findings will contribute to the formulation of Housing Benefit policy within DWP.
The main summary findings are:
- LAs were reliant on the internet for the information they received from DWP; particularly emails, DWP website and DirectGov website.
- The revised guidance on paying HB under the LHA arrangements had been used by the majority of LAs surveyed.
- Approximately three in five (61%) said the June 2010 budget will affect decisions about DHP allocations. Of the group who said decisions will be affected, approximately seven in ten (69%) said that they will make shorter awards in the future, 52% said they will be more likely to spend beyond the government contribution, and 30% said they will make more awards to help with deposits and rent in advance.
- Monitoring complaints but also collecting and monitoring compliments were two of the most frequently used methods of collecting customer feedback (other than surveys), mentioned by 95% and 82% of respondents respectively.
- The majority of LAs thought that customer satisfaction had increased (53%), three in ten (29%) thought it had stayed the same and just five per cent thought it had decreased.
- The most frequently mentioned changes that LAs said they would make to Decision Notices in order to make them simpler to understand were to simplify what is issued to customers (90%) and shorten the notices (82%).
Notes to Editors:
- The research is based on findings of 227 LAs who participated in the survey including ten that did not complete every section of the questionnaire. Fieldwork was carried out between 17 January and 11 March 2011.
- The data were analysed by GfK-NOP and the report was written by Claire Durrant and Elaine Winter from GfK-NOP. The report will be published 5 July. It will be available on the DWP website.