A review of figures supplied on the time taken to process Scottish Welfare Fund payments in Clackmannanshire has shown an improved picture to the previously reported performance, a report to the Council's Scrutiny Committee has shown.
Previously reported figures suggested the Council's performance was considerably below the Scottish average for time taken to process community care and crisis grants. However, officers have re-examined sample data and reported to the committee that the figures were based on data which contained errors.
The committee heard that the data supplied to the Scottish Government showed the date of case closure, and not the date of decision, which can be significantly different. For example, where goods are supplied the case will only be closed when all invoices have been received, processed and authorised for payment.
Officers identified 19 cases which had previously been reported as exceeding the 15 day community care grant target, and in every case the actual decision time was below this target. A sample of crisis grants showed a similar pattern.
To allow for accurate reporting in the future, work is underway with the software providers to ensure that systems are resolved to allow for accurate performance figures in the future.
Depute Convener of the Scrutiny Committee Cllr Donald Balsillie said: "I asked for this report to come to the committee after seeing the initial reports of the time taken to process these important grants. These were very concerning, and I am pleased to see that further examination has shown that this was not the case. These grants are absolutely essential to people in real need, and it is important that they are processed as quickly as possible. I hope that the ongoing work will ensure that the figures are collated correctly in the future."