Taunton Deane takes a long-term view with IT firm, in spite of benefits chaos

2 Dec 99
A West Country council is to continue to work with the IT services company CSL in spite of chaos caused to its benefits payments by the privatised IT operation.

03 December 1999

Taunton Deane is one of three councils – the others are Sheffield City and North Somerset – which encountered serious problems after transferring housing benefits staff and associated IT systems to CSL.

The councils are now facing backlogs in processing benefit claims of up to six weeks and are appealing to landlords not to evict tenants whose rent arrears are because of delayed housing benefits.

At Taunton Deane, a council meeting on November 25 heard that CSL had committed itself to returning to compliance with its contract terms by December 17.

'We have been working on these problems with the district auditor for a long time,' said a council spokesman. 'The auditor agreed that it was better to continue working with the company to sort it out rather than taking any heavier action.'

CSL said the government's new anti-fraud 'verification framework' was causing stress in the housing benefits system.


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