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Advice Services. Measuring Performance. The Leicester Experience. Best Value Review 2001 “Poor Service, probably going to improve” Not clear how services linked to corporate priorities, and why the services were delivered in the way that they were…. Advice Strategy 2002.
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Advice Services Measuring Performance
The Leicester Experience • Best Value Review 2001 • “Poor Service, probably going to improve” • Not clear how services linked to corporate priorities, and why the services were delivered in the way that they were…
Advice Strategy 2002 • Set out the intention to introduce a common performance monitoring framework for directly delivered & voluntary sector advice services • Signed up to the Quality Mark • Single commissioning point for voluntary sector advice services
Work on performance measures • Participation in national pilot lead by Citizens Advice • Need to progress quickly in light of BVR • Focus on outcomes rather than throughput measurement • What tangible results from advice and how to compare services?
The Monitoring System • Common definitions – levels of advice, cases and enquiries • Monitoring requirements scaled to level of advice • Outcomes of advice at specialist level • Customer feedback information • Mystery shopping • Financial information
New Monitoring Scheme • Started in Leicester 2003/04 • Nottingham 2004/05 • Amended prior to introduction in Nottingham • Supported by set of guidelines and Access Database • Further work on IT support required
What does it Measure? • Information Requests • The number of people requesting information (e.g. leaflets) but not the number of leaflets • Enquiries • A headcount of enquirers, not the number of issues • Cases • Specialist casework on which outcome monitoring takes place
Equal Opportunities Information • For both enquiries and cases • Gender • Disability • Ethnicity monitoring • But… • For cases we use the CRE full codes (includes mixed race) • For enquiries we use the CRE short codes (Black, Asian, White, Chinese, Other)
Ward information • Again, for both enquiries and cases • Records the ward residency of the service user • Some “City” coding if of no fixed abode • High levels of “City” coding not accepted unless the service is particularly geared to serving homeless users.
Case Recording • Numbers of cases • Opened in the quarter • Closed in the quarter • Case outcomes • Advice specific outcomes (e.g. benefit raised, debt rescheduled) • General outcomes (won, lost, no further contacts)
Claims • At the present time completion of claims for DLA/AA are classed together with cases • Some work in Leicester to separate these where a General Help with Casework service is provided (e.g. where claim outcomes are known to the agency)
Case Outcomes • Welfare Benefits • Amount raised (annualised & lump sums) • Debt • Amount of debt managed • Housing outcomes (see next slide) • Welfare benefit outcomes
Housing Outcomes • Housing • Possession prevented • Possession suspended • Eviction prevented • Eviction suspended • Adverse homelessness decision overturned • Money gained in damages • Welfare Benefit outcomes
Case Outcomes (continued…) • Employment • Amount of award/ settlement • Other employment outcomes (e.g. reinstatement) – not required to be broken down • Immigration & Nationality • Immigration status determined positively • Welfare benefit outcomes
Other Areas of Advice • Health & Community Care • Education • No outcomes set in the current monitoring scheme.
Financial Monitoring • Information is specific to the advice contract – not the organisation as a whole • Requires apportionment of organisational costs to the various contracts (e.g. how much is Council, how much LSC?) • Requires cost centring where more than one type of advice service is provided (e.g. housing casework, initial “generalist” advice services)
Procedural Monitoring • Replaced by one requirement to hold the Community Legal Service Quality Mark • No Council auditing of procedures governed by the Quality Mark
Customer Feedback • Three areas of assessment • Access to the service • Quality of service received • Impact of the service • Set questions in each of the areas which must be included in surveys • Set standard for numbers of returns • Must be done for individual aspects of the service (e.g. telephone help-line, casework service = 2 customer feedback exercises)
One Year On – how is it used? • Good information on the relative use of Information, General Help and Specialist services • 13,000 information • 14,000 enquiries • 1,400 cases • Information on Case Outcomes • 48% won, 19% no further contact • Available by agency
Information on Service Users • Difference in client groups across agencies • Higher levels of BME access to face to face advice services • But proportionate access to phone (generally reflecting make-up of population) • Total of 51% BME, 49% White • 23% Disabled, 57% Female
Ward Information on Users • Two wards in the city account for 31% of all advice service users • Based on need or configuration of the supply of services? • Overlay with the IMD – some areas clearly not provided for.
Outcome Information • Specialist welfare rights services raised £1,100,000 in 571 cases (average of £1,926 per user) • General Help with Casework claims raised over £2 million • Some contentious comparisons made between these types of service. • Issues relating to not including gains achieved under LSC contracts by specialist agencies.
Debt and Housing Outcomes • Over £2.5 million of debts rescheduled • 38 possessions prevented • 140 possessions suspended • 111 evictions suspended • 94 closed housing cases, 369 debt cases.
Employment Outcomes • £217,288 raised in awards and settlements • 40 other employment benefits • Likely to be affected by Dispute Resolution Rules in the future. • 212 specialist cases closed
Assisting in Service Planning • Leicester’s Advice Services Review • A “challenging context” - reduction of 35% in the Advice Services Budget • Information from the monitoring system used in the review to assess performance of internal and voluntary sector teams • No performance case for outsourcing advice services – broadly comparable productivity and outcomes
Identifying Gaps • Problems with access limited to fixed points of the city • Those areas historically funded were well served, others not • Outer estates in particular neglected • Range of different client criteria a potential barrier to access (mystery shopping)
Conclusion • This is far from perfect, but… • It is helpful and gives solid information on who is accessing services and where; • Provides for comparison of specialist casework services and teams; • Gives solid information on gains to help build political support for advice; • Provides a starting point for informed debate about future priorities.
Next Steps… • Nottingham and Leicester benchmarking performance this year • Group of LA’s and LSC developing a ‘toolkit’ - including Manchester and Sunderland • ‘Toolkit’ available to other LA’s in early 2005 for discussion