Things have yet to get any better for Nottingham's Housing and Council Tax Benefit claimants. Latest figures for the third quarter (i.e. Oct - Dec 2011, click for the Excel file) show little to no improvement in speed of processing since I looked at their second quarter stats.
Nottingham remains the second worst in Great Britain for processing new claims, although the average time taken has decreased slightly from 60 days to 59. Way to go NCC.
Things aren't quite as bad for the average time taken to process changes in circumstances where NCC is only the 5th worst in the country with 33 days, a slight improvement on the previous quarter's 36.
This demonstrates an ongoing issue of worsening service when you haven't got the Audit Commission popping in every year and awarding you stars leading to nice headlines in the paper.
As mentioned before, NCC recently threw a pile of money at the problem and brought in a team of private agency staff at a time when it is supposedly committed to reducing temp and agency staff (see para 1.3 of this report). This won't show up until the first quarter of next year I'd guess as the agency staff are being hired for 12 weeks (i.e. a quarter) and I suspect it is being timed to ensure that the figures for the first quarter of the financial year show the maximum possible improvement in case Lisa Black is summoned to some inconvenient committee or other to explain why her service is so shit.
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