Agenda and minutes

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No. Item




An apology for absence was received from Cllr Elizabeth Mulheran. Cllr John Caller substituted.



To sign the minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 87 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday, 09 June 2021 were signed by the Chair.



To declare any interest Members may have in the items contained on this agenda. When declaring an interest Members should state what their interest is.


No declarations of interest were made.



Low Income Family Tracker (LIFT) Demonstration


The Head of Revenues & Benefits presented LIFT to Members.


Members were informed that it was a brand new software for the service which would be used corporately and strategically to help identify those vulnerable residents who were in financial crisis or were on the verge of going into financial crisis. Identification and engagement were a key objective for the service and the new dashboards available through LIFT would give officer’s much more information. That information would allow officers to provide support to more residents who previously may not have been known to the service but were in need of financial assistance. 


The Head of Revenues & Benefits gave the Committee a detailed demonstration of the Low Income Family Tracker system.


Following the demonstration, the Head of Revenues & Benefits fielded questions from the Committee and explained that:


  • The service had limited information available to them but the service was promoting support available to residents in the Borough and officers were engaging with the community to ensure that anyone who needed support would receive everything they were entitled to. LIFT was a very useful tool for those identified as vulnerable through housing benefits but it would also assist in identifying those vulnerable people that were in receipt of Universal Credit  but weren’t in receipt of Council Tax Reduction which was previously not possible
  • LIFT was brand new and had only been live for the last three months; it was updated monthly and over time trends would appear as more data was fed into the system. August’s data had just been received so new cases should start to be seen by the team and hopefully that would continue every month once the new data was received. The aim of the system was to identify those in need so that they could be engaged with and their arrears reduced; they may also be entitled to other benefits which would be flagged up to the service and officers would be able to advise people what they should be claiming
  • There were three objectives for the system:


-       Objective 1 – Use the information to strategically help various departments across the Council

-       Objective 2 – Reduce the amount of people in financial crisis

-       Objective 3 – Reduce the amount of Council tax arrears


  • Backdated benefits were dependant on the benefit and the rules in place for it; for example the Council Tax Reduction Scheme could only be backdated one month
  • One of the dashboards was only received this morning but its role was to look at the effects of universal credit and the effects of the removal of the additional £20 per week. Currently the dashboard suggested that 87 households would be removed from universal credit as the current amount they owed was less than the £20 per week but the service would seek to provide support to those households. The dashboard was new and it would be developed over time, as more data was fed into the system trend analysis would be possible and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Corporate Register of Partnerships - Extract for P&A Cabinet Committee pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:


Members were informed of the Council’s involvement in partnerships that were within the remit of the Committee.


The Head of Revenues & Benefits advised that the current partnerships that most directly related to the work of the Performance & Administration Committee were:


  • Audit and Counter Fraud Shared Service
  • Revenues & Benefits Shared Management Arrangement


Members noted the information contained within the report.



Corporate Performance Report: Q1 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:


Members of the Performance & Administration Committee with presented with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as introduced within the Council’s Corporate Plan, for Quarter One 2021-22 (April to June 2021).


The Head of Revenues & Benefits guided Members through appendix two and gave a statistical overview of each Performance Indicator.


Members noted the following information:


  • Gravesham Council were in the top quartile in the Country for accuracy in relation to processing Housing Benefit claims
  • Collection of Council Tax as at end of August 2021 was up 1.8% from this time last year
  • Business Rates Collection had a decrease of 5.5% from last year but that was largely down to the rules around retail discounts changing. From 01 July 2021, instead of receiving a 100% discount, businesses were only entitled to a 66% discount which meant it increased the amount of money that Gravesham had to collect by £4.5 million. The Council had had only two months since the 01 July to collect that additional money which was why the figures had decreased; the remainder of the money to be collected had been spread over the financial year to assist businesses
  • The total number of reported corporate complaints had increased but the corporate complaints process was being reviewed as it had been revealed that a large number of the complaints should have actually been classed as ‘service user requests’. Only four of those forty one complaints went to stage two and of those four only three escalated to stage three. Most of the valid complaints in Housing were due to changes to the Housing Register from 01 April 2021


The Head of Revenues & Benefits gave Members updated figures for the Performance Indicators as at end of August 2021:


  • PI23 - Average processing time taken for Housing Benefit – 14.2 days
  • PI24 - Average processing time for changes of circumstance in Housing Benefit claims (days) – 5.9 days
  • PI 50 - Total number of people signed up to citizens access – Increased by 2413 people
  • PI55 - % of internal audit recommendations implemented – 16 were due for implementation by the end of June 2021, 7 of which have been implemented with only 9 recommendations outstanding. The team had issue reminders for responses by the end of September to the lead officers and were still waiting for those responses. As of today, the planned delivery stood at 21% with a further 13% underway
  • PI56 - % of information requests completed within statutory deadline – The service had seen a 42% increase in FOI requests; performance had not been affected


The Head of Revenues & Benefits and the Assistant Director (IT & Transformation) fielded questions from the Committee and explained that:


  • An FOI request could be rejected if it would take over eighteen hours’ worth of work to complete however they were rare and the majority were reasonably simple to provide a response too. The service also published questions and responses online so that if a similar FOI was requested then they could be directed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service Review pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee were provided with a copy of the annual review that had been conducted in respect of the Audit & Counter Fraud shared service with Medway Council.


The Assistant Director (IT & Transformation) outlined key points from the report:


  • Notice was received last week from a Counter Fraud Officer which the service was  looking to replace
  • All officers trialled in designated roles had been moved into permanent roles with effect from 01 April 2021
  • The second Audit & Counter Fraud Intelligence Analyst post had been filled without the need for extra funding
  • Progress against the Shared Services objectives could be seen at page 38 of the report 
  • The four recommendations for the coming year had been refreshed and were listed in the report, in full, on page 40


In response to a question about officers returning to their roles, the Director (IT & Transformation) advised that in the past officers had roving roles amongst the services and operated in different areas in different capacities. The officers had now returned to their permanent roles where they would provide specialist support to the team they were in. 


In response to a request from Cllr Hills about having more simplified language in the report, the Assistant Director (IT & Transformation) agreed to feed the comment back to the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services.


Members noted the information contained within the report.