Skip to main content

Performance Targets

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 10 March 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will announce the 1992–93 performance targets which he is setting his Department's executive operations.

I have today announced the targets for 1992–93 which I have set for Department of Social Security executive operations.A number of changes have been made to the format and range of the targets to improve the measures of performance and to cover the introduction of the new disability benefits. The targets set challenging standards of performance for the Department and represent an overall improvement over those set for the current year. The clearance time target for disability living allowance claims represents a considerable improvement over the equivalent targets for attendance allowance and mobility allowance. The war pensions disablement claims target has been modified to allow for an average 20 days before claims reach the agency and to relate it to continued work load which in 1991–92 has run at double the forecast level. While the target is lower than had previously been planned, it nevertheless represents against the background of the greatly increased number of claims a challenging target entailing a significant improvement in performance.The targets support fully the continued success of the Government's "next steps" agencies and the citizen's charter initiative. They are as follows:BENEFITS AGENCY1.

Benefit Clearance Times1

  • Social fund crisis loans—applications cleared on the day the need arises.2
  • Social fund community care grants—applications cleared on average in seven days.2
  • Income support new claims—claims cleared on average in four days.1
  • Sickness and invalidity benefit claims—65 per cent. of claims cleared in 10 days and 95 per cent. in 30 days.
  • Child benefit—65 per cent. of claims in 10 days and 95 per cent. in 30 days.
  • Family credit—60 per cent. of claims in 13 days and 95 per cent. in 45 days.3
  • Disability living allowance—60 per cent. of claims in 30 days and 95 per cent. in 55 days.4
  • Disability working allowance (claims from people starting work)—95 per cent. of claims in five days.
  • War pensions (new disablement cases)—60 per cent. of claims in 175 days.5
  • War pensions (widows' cases)—80 per cent. of claims in 75 days.

2. Benefit Accuracy

  • Income support—to pay the correct amount in 94 per cent. of cases.
  • Incapacity benefits6—to pay the correct amount in 96·5 per cent. of cases.
  • Family credit—to pay the correct amount in 94 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 manage the agency's resources so as to deliver its business plan within a total budget of £1,948 million.
  • Achieve new efficiency savings worth at least £53·7 million.
  • The budget of £1,948 million is net of these savings.
  • Keep to gross allocation for social fund loans and grants of £302 million.

5. Financial recovery

  • Recovery of social fund loans—£175 million.
  • Benefit savings from detection and prevention of fraud—£460 million.
  • Recovery of income support overpayments—£30 million. 1992–93 to include recovery from estates.


1. Performance—Compliance

  • Increase aggregate yield by:
  • (a) Increasing collection of contribution arrears (excluding central payments section) by £13·3 million over the 1991–92 outturn.
  • (b) Increasing class 1 identified from survey (arrears and in-year savings) by £12 million over the 1991–92 outturn.
  • Increase the number of surveys to 114,000, including 17,000 employer educational visits.
  • Actively identify 40,000 persons with class 2 liability.

2. Performance—Records Maintenance

  • Process 98 per cent. of available employers' end of year returns by 31 December 1992.
  • Correct 83 per cent. of rejects from employers' end of year returns by 31 march 1993.

3. Performance—Customer Service/Information Provision

  • Clear 99 per cent. of benefit inquiries handled clerically in three working days to 98 per cent. accuracy.
  • Dispatch 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 termination notices for 92 per cent. of all cases within 28 working days of receipt.
  • Provide a level of public service considered to be satisfactory by at least 75 per cent. of customers surveyed.

4. Resource Management

  • To manage the agency's resources so as to deliver its business plan within a total budget of £142 million.
  • Achieve new efficiency savings of £2·6 million.


1. General

  • To manage the agency's resources so as to deliver agreed services within the approved 1992–93 running cost and capital allocations and accruals based budgets;
  • to achieve running cost business efficiency savings of 3·9 per cent; and
  • 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 seven 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.


1. Customer Care

  • Not less than 90 per cent. of published facilities to be provided.
  • Survey of residents to confirm that not less than 85 per cent. express satisfaction with standards.

2. Resource Management

To manage the agency's resources so as to deliver its business plan within a total budget of £25·517 million, including £14·196 million for the costs of existing resettlement units and agency HQ.
To achieve £0·3 million in new efficiency savings to be reallocated to grants for replacement providers.

3. Disengagement Strategy

Make satisfactory alternative provision for four resettlement units and then disengage from running them by 31 March 1993.
Secure commitments to satisfactory alternative provision for a further four units, and then announce decisions to disengage from running them during 1993–94, by 31 March 1993.


Responsibility for the Department's existing work on collecting maintenance for children will pass in April 1992 from the Benefits Agency to the new child support unit, in preparation for the launch of the child support agency in 1993. The unit's service delivery and financial targets will be:
  • Percentage of lone parents making new and repeat claims for income support for whom maintenance is arranged—20 per cent.7
  • Number of lone parents already in receipt of income support on 6 April 1992 for whom maintenance is arranged—24,000.7
  • Annual Benefit Savings—£320 million.
  • To manage the unit's resources so as to deliver its business plan within a total budget of £86 million.

In addition to the above, agencies also have milestone targets to be achieved during 1992–93. Details of these will be published in agency annual business plans. Some of the above budget allocation figures differ from the plans published in the DSS report—Cm 1914. This is due to recent transfers between budgets.

1 Clearance times normally cover the period from date of receipt of the claim in the agency to the formal decision by the adjudication officer or equivalent. Notification of the result is normally issued by the following day. All days refer to working days.

7 Based on "calculated" measure, reflecting work outstanding, work processed and working days in the

month, measuring from date of entry to date of clearance on statistical record sheet or, for social fund, from date of claim.

3 The target value is subject to assumption about the number of cases still requiring further inquiries following procedural changes in April 1992.

4 By comparison, the current targets for attendance allowance is 70 per cent. in 50 days and 95 per cent. in 90 days. The current target for mobility allowance is an average of 37 days, but is not directly comparable.

5 Based on a forecast workload of 102,000 new cases, compared with an original forecast for 1992–93 of 69,500 claims: the target to be varied subject to work loads.

6 Incapacity benefits is an overall term used to cover sickness benefit, invalidity benefit, severe disablement allowance and maternity allowance.

7 These two targets are together broadly equivalent to a target of 27 per cent. of all lone parents on income support receiving maintenance.