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Our Services

Our main function is to administer applications for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction for residents within the borough.

Housing Benefit is available to people on low income who are renting their homes to help them afford to pay the rent.

Council Tax Reduction is available for those on low incomes where council tax is payable on a domestic dwelling.

Our aim is:

 ”To deliver high quality services that are customer focused and give value for money”

In order to achieve our aim we provide a number of services to ensure residents within the borough have easy access to the benefits that are available to them, such as:

  • Housing Benefit claims administration, for both private sector and council tenants on low incomes

  • Council Tax Reduction benefit claim administration for customers on low incomes

  • Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP's) and Local Welfare assistance

  • Benefit Fraud investigations

  • Home visits providing benefits assistance and advice to customers in their own home

  • Face to Face assessment where claims/applications can be processed while you wait (if all supporting evidence is attached)
  • Telephone Application where an experienced Benefits Advisor will call you at your convenience to help you make your claim/application

  • A step by step Electronic Application form to enable you to make a claim/application via the Internet

  • An Appeals service where customers can appeal if they think their Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction is wrong

  • Free School Meals administration where qualifying children attending school within the borough can receive free school meals

  • Access to range of information or services via our Internet pages, or alternatively access to speak to one of our trained benefits staff, either face to face at our Benefits Enquiry Counter or via telephone to our Benefits Call Centre

In order to continue to meet our aims we must invest in the development of our staff, ensure that the service is adequately resourced, listen and respond to customer and stakeholder feedback, and identify the most effective processes and systems to provide the best level of service.

To support this we have a detailed Customer Charter document (see below) which identifies the standard of service that you can expect. This includes:

  • The times you can contact us by telephone

  • How we introduce ourselves

  • How we transfer telephone calls

  • Arrangements for returning telephone calls

  • Arrangements for answering correspondence

  • Guidelines for face to face contact

  • How complaints should be handled

We are keen to ensure that no benefit claimant/applicant receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, race, disability or age. We are continuously looking at ways to make our service easy for everyone to use and currently offer the following:

  • Private interview rooms

  • Assistance, advice and information to customers on benefit related issues in other languages

  • Assistance, advice and information to customers on benefit related issues using other methods of communication for those with special needs, e.g a Hearing Loop, Sign Language, Minicom

  • Provide information in Braille or large print

If you have any special needs which we do not cater for please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Customer Service Excellence

Benefit Services has been awarded Customer Service Excellence, which recognises the excellent service we give to our customers.