A new digital solution will enable seven out of ten benefits claimants to self-serve, rather than seek face-to-face guidance from local authority benefits teams or other agencies, such as housing associations and advisory organisations.
BetterOff is being rolled out by Kirklees Council, working with other local providers. It will save the authority £400,000 on its advice budget this year.
LookingLocal has digitised all the necessary claim forms, adding easy-to-understand explanatory notes that guide claimants through the application process - and remove the need to sit down and work through the often complex forms with a benefits adviser. BetterOff also incorporates an online benefits calculator, built by market leaders, entitledto.
The BetterOff platform is optimised for mobile devices and the Council estimates that around 70 per cent of customers will be able to complete the application process successfully online. The authority also predicts that it will maintain its 80 per cent success rate appealing benefits decisions at tribunals.
As well as delivering savings by greatly reducing face-to-face and telephone contact, BetterOff will free up benefits advisers to deal with more vulnerable customers, or those with more complex needs.
As LookingLocal is a not-for-profit technology developer owned by Kirklees Council, procurement is straightforward.
Senior benefits and advice managers are being invited to a special preview day in Birmingham on 8 July to see BetterOff in action and contribute their expertise to its ongoing development.
More information on BetterOff is available from firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 434 8540.