HC Deb 18 March 1997 vol 292 cc572-4W
Mr. Ian Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what performance targets he has set his Department's agencies for 1997–98; and if he will make a statement. [21043]

2. Mr. Lilley

The targets I have set my Department's executive agencies for 1997–98 are as set out.

The targets represent a significant challenge to each agency, and focus effort on the key elements of their individual businesses.

Further information on the agencies' plans for 1997–98 is contained in their indvidual business plans which have been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.

The targets for 1997–98 are:


1.Benefit accuracy

  • Income support accuracy—to pay the correct amount in 87 per cent. of cases.
  • Jobseeker's allowance accuracy—to pay the correct amount in 87 per cent. of cases.
  • Incapacity benefit accuracy—to pay the correct amount in 94 per cent. of cases.
  • Family credit accuracy—to pay the correct amount in 91 per cent. of cases.
  • Disability living allowance accuracy—to pay the correct amount in 96 per cent. of cases.

Claims clearance times

  • Jobseekers' allowance claims—65 per cent. in 10 days and 90 per cent. in 21 days.
  • Faster family credit—90 per cent. in 5 days.

Financial recovery and financial control

  • 160,000 claims of those obtaining benefit by deception to be withdrawn within 10 days of fraud investigation and 185,000 within 28 days.
  • Security savings—£2100 million.
  • Overpayment recovery—£120 million.
  • Social fund loans recovery—£333 million.

Resource management

  • To manage the agency's resources to deliver its business plan within allocations.
  • To keep to the cash limit agreement with Treasury for the discretionary social fund budget approved by Parliament.


  1. 1. Records Maintenance
    • New accounts properly registered for: 95 per cent. of juveniles in advance of their 16th birthday, and 90 per cent. of adults without NI accounts within eight days of receipt of complete application forms.
    • Changes to personal details properly recorded, completing 92 per cent. of cases within 15 days.
    • NI contributions properly recorded for: 98 per cent. of appropriate notifications for class 1 contributors by 31 December 1997 or within 30 days thereafter; 90 per cent. of class 2–3 contributors within five days of receipt of payment.
    • NI details properly recorded following investigation: for 90 per cent. of cases by 31 March 1998 where there are inappropriate submissions by employers; for 85 per cent. of cases in 90 days where contributors/others identify an inaccuracy.
  2. 2.Information provision
    • 95 per cent. of requests from Government agencies and Departments within: three days when no clerical action is required; 10 days with clerical involvement; and 45 days when detailed investigation is necessary to establish the NI position.
    • 92 per cent. of requests from pension providers and scheme administrators completed within 25 days.
    • 95 per cent. of customer inquiries and complaints within 20 days.


  • £3.55 billion of NI contributions collected by the NI fund.
  • £170 million of arrears identified and reference made to the Inland Revenue for collection.
  • NI rebates accurately paid to pension providers, with 98 per cent. of cases completed within one calendar month after the recording of an accurate end of year return.
  • 574
  • Contracting-out certificates properly issued, clearing 99 per cent. within five days.
  • Variation and surrender action properly completed, clearing 96 per cent. within 10 days.
  • Initiate investigation action within 10 days, where schemes are in breach of contracting-out conditions.


1. Performance

  • £500 million of maintenance to be collected or arranged.
  • 97 per cent. of payments to parents with care to be made within 10 working days of receipt.
  • Cash value of all assessments checked in the year to be correct in at least 85 per cent. of cases.
  • 60 per cent. of second-tier reviews to be cleared within 13 weeks and 95 per cent. within 26 weeks.
  • A minimum of 525,000 cases to be cleared; 60 per cent. of new maintenance applications to be cleared within 26 weeks and on 31 March 1998 no more than 5 per cent. of all applications received by the agency to be over 52 weeks old.



  • Disablement Claims—66 per cent. cleared in 145 days.
  • War Widows' Claims—82 per cent. cleared in 70 days.
  • Claims accuracy—95 per cent.
  • Appeals status—At 31 March 1998, to have no more than 28 per cent. of outstanding appeals more than 260 days old.
  • Appeals volume—To clear 10,000 appeals during 1997–98.

Resource Management

  • To manage the agency's administration resources so as to deliver the business plan within budget allocation.

Customer satisfaction

  • To complete a survey of welfare service clients by 31 March 1998.


1. Financial targets

  • Manage the agency's income and expenditure (derived from normal trading activities), as presented on audited accruals accounts, so that the agency recovers its full economic costs through receipts from customers within a tolerance of plus or minus 2 per cent.
  • Manage the ITSA purchaser vote so that the agency's expenditure outturn is in line with allocations and estimates— final outturn to be within 1 per cent. of the forecast provided for the end-of-year review of expenditure in December 1997.
  • To reduce unit costs and prices in order to deliver to overall business efficiency improvement of 5 per cent.

Customer service targets

  • Measure customer satisfaction using the business excellence model, an industry standard and achieve a 10 per cent. BEM score improvement for customer satisfaction.
  • Deliver 95 per cent. of services to customers to service levels for budget, time and quality as agreed within contracts.