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Benefits and support The benefits service: our data

How the benefits service is performing

Dealing with new claims and changes

We keep track of our performance and also report on it to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The DWP oversees all councils' benefits services throughout the country. They have two performance indicators to make sure we deal promptly with:

  • new claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support; and
  • changes that affect customers getting these benefits.

We regularly count how long it takes us to deal with new claims and changes, and we publish the results every three months. The table below shows the figures available so far for the current financial year. Senior managers set the target figures we aim to achieve.

'Days to process new claims' is normally the average number of days between the date we receive a claim in our office and the date we make a decision on the claim.

'Days to process changes' is the average number of days between the date we were told about the change and the date we dealt with it, if we were told about the change after it happened.
If we were told before the change, but didn't deal with it until after the change, it's the number of days from the date of the change to the date we dealt with it.


How the Benefits service is performing in 2019/20:

  Target for the year  April to June 2019 July to September 2019 October to December 2019  January to March 2020 Annual result
Days to process new claims 20 days 27.6 days 25.1 days      
Days to process changes 12 days 8.8 days 10.1 days      


See how the Benefits service performed in earlier years

April 2012 to March 2019

Getting a decision faster

We can only make a decision on a claim straightaway if we have the full information and evidence that we need from the person claiming. If we don't, we may have to write and ask for it. So, although it took on average 26.5 days for us to make a decision on new claims in 2017/18, we can process a new claim more quickly than this when you give us all the evidence and information we ask for with your claim form.

More information about the evidence we need

Telling us about changes

Once you've given us your claim, you need to tell us straightaway about any change that could affect your benefit. Tell us as soon as you know about the change, from the moment you've filled in your claim form.

We usually need evidence of the change, so include it when you report your change if you can. When you use the online changes in circumstances form it tells you what evidence we need and how to provide it.

If you don't tell us about changes, we may pay you too much benefit and you'll have to pay it back.


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