§ Angela Eagle
Best value performance indicators will from this April be the main yardstick against which local authorities' performance is judged. Authorities are required to set out each year in published best value performance plans details of past performance against the indicators and challenging targets for future improved performance. These plans and the performance information they contain are subject to statutory audit.
Auditors are responsible for ensuring that authorities have adequate systems in place for producing accurate performance data. In addition, the Department has made arrangements for performance data to be reported periodically by authorities as part of the normal provision of housing benefit management information.
Guidance on the Housing Benefit indicators and revised statistical forms were issued by the Department to all authorities in December last year. The Benefit Fraud 266W Inspectorate will also test the robustness of local authority performance data both as part of its on-going cycle of inspections of housing benefit administration and in its role as a best value inspectorate.