§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what performance targets he is setting for his Department's executive operations for 1993–94; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Lilley
The targets for 1993–94 which I have set for DSS executive operations are set out in the table. The targets support the continued success of the Government's next steps agencies and the citizens charter initiative.
A number of changes have been made to the format and range of the targets to improve the measures of performance. The targets I have set represent a challenging level of performance, and an improvement in the service the customers receive.
As well as the following performance targets, agencies have been set resource management targets requiring them to deliver their plans within their agreed financial allocation and, where appropriate, to make efficiency savings. They also have a number of milestone targets to achieve. These and the resource management targets are set out in 1993–94 business plans, which also contain further information on performance targets.
The business plan of the Benefits Agency will be published today; those of the Information Technology Services Agency, the Child Support Agency and the Resettlement Agency on 31 March; and that of the Contributions Agency on 2 April. I will arrange for copies of the plans to be placed in the Library.
The targets are as follows:Benefits Agency1. Benefit Clearance Times1
- Social Fund Crisis loans—the day the need arises.
- Social Fund Community Care Grants—65 per cent. of claims cleard in 7 days and 95 per cent. in 20 days.
- Income Support new claims—71 per cent. of claims cleared in 5 days and 90 per cent. in 13 days.
- Sickness and Invalidity Benefit claims—65 per cent. of claims cleared in 10 days and 95 per cent. in 30 days.
- Child Benefit—67 per cent. of claims cleared in 10 days and 95 per cent. in 30 days.
- Family Credit—60 per cent. of claims cleared in 13 days and 95 per cent. in 42 days.
- Disability Living Allowance—65 per cent. of claims cleared in 30 days and 85 per cent. in 55 days.
- Disability Working Allowance (claims from people starting work)—65 per cent. of claims cleared in 5 days.2. Benefit Accuracy
- Income Support—to pay the correct amount in 92 per cent. of cases.
- Incapacity benefits2—to pay the correct amount in 96.5 per cent. of cases.
- Family Credit—to pay the correct amount in 92 per cent. of cases.
- Disability Living Allowance—to pay the correct amount in 96 per cent. of cases.
- Disability Working Allowance—to pay the correct amount in 95 per cent. of cases.3. Customer Satisfaction
- 85 per cent. of customers to regard the Agency's service as satisfactory or better.4. Resource management
- To keep to the net cash limited provision for the discretionary Social Fund budget approved by Parliament.5. Financial recovery
- Recovery of Social Fund loans—£219 million.
- Benefit savings from detection and prevention of fraud—£557 million.
- Recovery of benefit overpayments—£54 million.War Pensions Unit
- War Pensions (new disablement cases)—60 per cent. of claims cleared in 160 days.
- War Pensions (widows' cases)—80 per cent. of claims cleared in 75 days.Contributions Agency1. Performance—ComplianceIncrease aggregate yield by:
Increase the number of surveys to 121,000, including 24,000 employer educational visits. Actively identify 100,000 persons with Class 2 liability.
- (a) Increasing collection of contribution arrears (excluding Central Payments Section) by £10 million over the 1992–93 outturn.
- (b) Increasing Class 1 identified from survey (arrears and in-year savings) by £15 million over the 1992–93 outturn.2. Performance—Records Maintenance
- Process 98 per cent. of available Employers' End of Year Returns by 31 December 1993.
- Correct 87 per cent. of rejects from Employers' End of Year Returns by 31 March 1994.3. Performance—Customer Service/ Information Provision
- Clear 99 per cent. of Benefit Inquiries handled clerically in two working days to 98 per cent. accuracy.
- Despatch either a full reply, or an informative response, to 95 per cent. of all customer inquiries within 10 working days of receipt.
- Complete action to register acceptable Personal Pension cases and process straightforward Temination Notices for 93 per cent. of all cases within 28 working days of receipt.
- Provide a level of public service considered to be satisfactory by at least 80 per cent. of customers surveyed.Information Technology Services Agency1. General
- To achieve running cost business efficiency savings of 3.8 per cent.
- To produce monthly profiles and actual monitoring data For all general and financial targets.2. Quality of Service
- Service availability—93 per cent. of district offices will receive at least the weekly service availability level agreed in the relevant customer service level agreement each month; and
- On-line response time—the average response time for on-line services is set at 7 seconds or less across 95 per cent. of all responses.3. Financial
- Unit cost and financial ratio targets are set but are not published for reasons of commercial confidentiality.Resettlement Agency1. Customer Care
- Not less than 95 per cent. of published facilities to be provided.
- Survey of residents of confirm that not less than 85 per cent. express satisfaction with standards.2. Disengagement Strategy
- Cease direct operation of at least four resettlement units by granting funds to suitable organisations who will provide similar resettlement services in the same premises by 31 March 1994.
- By 31 March 1994 begin the formal tender process for a further four resettlement units where provision of resettlement services by the Resettlement Agency will cease in 1994–95.
- Complete visits to 80 per cent. of all grant-aided organisations by 31 March 1994 to ensure that the care standards are adequate, that the conditions of grant award are met and that the facilities are managed in a way which ensures value for money.3. Resettlement
- By 31 March 1994 place 1,300 resettlement unit residents into suitable alternative accommodation in the community.Child Support Agency
- The Child Support Agency is a new business which has no historical data on which to base a full set of performance targets. I have therefore set a limited range of targets for 1993–94 which will be expanded in 1994–95. The targets for 1993–94 are:
- 60 per cent. of people with the care of children making eligible applications to the Agency to have maintenance arranged3.
- Annual Benefit Savings—£530 million.
- 65 per cent. of clients to regard the service as satisfactory.
1Clearance times normally cover the period from date of receipt of 683W a written claim in the Agency to the date of decision/payment. All days refer to working days. All targets, apart from that for Social fund Crisis Loans are expressed in the formula X per cent. of claims cleared in Y days. The calculated average clearance time equivalent of the X in Y targets is:
Income Support 4.0 days; Social Fund Community Care Grants 6.7 days;
Sickness/Invalidity Benefit 7.5 days; Family Credit 13 days.
2Incapacity benefits is an overall term used to cover Sickness Benefit, Invalidity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Maternity Allowance.
3Eligible applications are those where there is a liability to pay maintenance—excluding, for example, applications from those with over age children or absent parents living abroad.