Nottingham City Council is now processing around 4,500 housing benefit claims every two weeks following a successful 12- month overhaul of its housing benefit IT system, which cleared a backlog of nearly 20,000 claims.
The project to re-engineer the council’s housing benefit system, which began in spring 2002, was completed in May this year.
Current World software from SX3 is used as the system’s core application, running on a cluster of IBM RS/6000 servers. Images@work software from Anite is used for document management.
Although there were no problems with the technology employed, officials said that the way the system was originally set up meant it was awkward to use. This contributed to the council building up a backlog of 19,000 claims.
To clear the backlog, council staff had to delete unnecessary data and upgrade some software.
“We did a hell of a lot of housekeeping to clear out redundant documentation and we upgraded to a new release of electronic document management software with enhanced functionality,” said Antony Snape, team leader of revenue and benefits support system at Nottingham City Council.
“We also simplified the way that we use the system, with clearer routing rules and fewer document trays within the system.”
Nottingham has been working with service management company Kendric Ash to re-engineer the system and cleared the backlog of claims in February.
Enquiries about the council benefits are now answered in less than 35 seconds and 97% of all enquiries are dealt with on the first call, according to council officials.