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Amalgamate all government benefits management and administration into a one-stop department

Comment 6th July 2010

The benefits system in England is very complex to the point that many benefits officers don't fully understand what is available and what isn't. Benefits are made available through numerous laws and regulations and applications can be made to local authorities; Job Centres; DWP specific offices and HM Revenue and Customs. There are probably other agencies and quangos who are involved too.

Every application is based on a hefty application form and most of them ask the same information over and over albeit in slightly different formats. This takes up staff and customers time and in the case of telephone applications costs a fortune.

Surely all records for benefits/DWP/Income Tax purposes could be held on computer and actioned by using the unique NI number everyone should have. Those with no NI number should not be entitled to benefits.

The mass of documents, paper and subsequent shuffling around the country must be costing a fortune too.

I have no doubt that a private sector company could amalgamate the lot and streamline it so that benefits are dealt with very quickly with much less red tape. My guess is that the costs of administering and managing benefits could be reduced by as much as 65%

The laws relating to benefits should be changed so that the management of administering benefits is greatly reduced

Why does this matter?

At the moment many people who are in need of benefits find it very difficult to get real practical advice and many don't know which benefits they are entitled to and where they can get help.

The cumbersome procedures and endless document compiling is a pigs breakfast and very inefficient largely due to water tight compartmentalism and a failure of communication as each new law and regulation is usually implemented without anyone looking at the wider picture.

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