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Teignbridge District Council - Risked Based Verification

TeignbridgeBackground

Teignbridge District Council is responsible for assessing housing benefit and for applying any council tax reduction for people living in Teignbridge, who need help paying their rent and council tax. 

Housing benefit regulations require local authorities to obtain information which allows an accurate assessment of a claimant’s entitlement to benefit to be made. However with the exception of a national insurance number and proof of identity, they do not specify what evidence is required in support of the claim. Consequently over the years, quality checking and fraud detection have led to a complex and burdensome process of verification.

In 2011 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) changed this requirement and now allow local authorities to carry out this verification using a risk based approach for new benefit claims.

Objective  

  • To improve processing times for new claims  
  • To reduce the footfall generated by claimants bringing in documents  
  • To improve customer service by reducing the number of contacts required to process their claim  
  • To reduce the amount of time spent on low risk cases to free up resources to deploy to higher risk applications  
  • To enhance fraud and error detection  
  • To provide a consistency of approach

Solution

Callcredit’s ThreeSixty RBV is an on-line risk based verification service taken by over 60 local authorities and, uniquely, is approved by the Department of Work and Pensions who rigorously tested the service and benchmarked all results against manual review.

By using RBV, Teignbridge District Council can accurately detect fraud and error in benefit claims and on-going interventions, automatically and efficiently, without the need to manually review each case. Teignbridge can now apply different levels of checks to new housing benefit claims according to the risk associated with those claims.

Claims are assessed prior to payment and put into 1 of 3 categories – low, medium or high and this determines the requirement to gather proof. The risk category is determined by proprietary software using statistical information and experience gathered over many years about what type of claim represents what type of risk.

This process enables Teignbridge to release a significant number of its claimants from having to supply several items of evidence to support their claim. These customers, who are considered to be at low risk of committing fraud, will experience a faster, less intrusive way of claiming benefits. RBV will also result in greater consistency in how claims are processed and help Teignbridge to detect fraud at the initial point of claiming benefit.

Results

Teignbridge adopted an RBV approach in June 2013 enabling the Council to filter its new claims so time was only spent on obtaining evidence on cases where there is a risk of fraud or error. This has meant that in over 50% of the Council’s cases, once all the information is gained, the claim can be assessed immediately with no need to follow up for additional evidence.

Over the period that RBV has been in place, there has been;  

  • 28% improvement in processing times for new claims with cases now taking an average of just over 13 days between receipt and decision date. A reduction from 18 days.  
  • 10% reduction in the number of documents scanned and indexed in support of new claims.  
  • 50% of new claims are returned as low risk which means more resources are targeted at the medium and high risk cases – helping to save valuable time and money
  • identified an error baseline of 9.4% - meaning that approx. 91% of Teignbridge claim forms are correct and can be paid

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