e-Benefit Software Trial
The National Benefits Project is set to trial a new piece of software for handling benefit applications in 3 areas of the UK from the start of next year.
One of the National Projects is set to give councils a software tool for handling benefits claims.
The product was officially launched by the e-Benefits team on 9 November 2004. It will be piloted by three local authorities – Liverpool, Rotherham and Somerset – from the beginning of 2005.
Local e-government minister Phil Hope said it was intended to speed up claims processing, fight fraud, reduce the number of errors and make the benefits system easier to use for those entitled to make claims.
"e-Benefits will provide a transactional facility for local authority delivered benefits," he said. "It will also help the Department for Work and Pensions target the higher take-up of all benefits."
The core package from the project is a software system designed for council staff to help assist benefits claimants, and to enter the relevant details onscreen. It records details such as the claimant's circumstances, income, council tax payments and housing costs, checks that the claim does not already exist, and makes calculations to help the claimant's submission.
It can be integrated with legacy systems for processing benefits claims, but will not be integrated with central government systems in the short term.
The project has also delivered a starter pack to help councils set up the system, and a products catalogue.
Project leader Ged Fitzgerald pointed out that there are over 60 benefits streams demanding a huge amount of processing, but that there is little coordination.
"We are tackling a very complex area of government business at national and local level," he said. "We have now built up a degree of expertise and continuity to go forward.
"The logic of what we have designed is that it will get better over time. It makes it possible to input material and have it validated through one transactional source."