Revenues and Welfare Benefits Practitioner

Occupation Overview

Performing various roles in local authorities such as benefit assessment, revenues calculation or customer service

Occupation

Revenues and Welfare Benefits Practitioner

Occupational Profile

Revenues and Welfare Benefits Practitioners perform various roles in local authorities or their contractors, software companies that provide processing services to authorities (such as benefit assessment, revenues calculation or customer service), housing associations or organisations supporting people in their dealings with local authorities. These organisations can range in size and employ from 10 to over 1,000 staff. They deal with many aspects of Council Tax, Business Rates, Housing Benefit, Local Council Tax Support and related matters. Organisations have different structures, with some officers only dealing with one of these aspects and others dealing with multiple aspects. Consequently, the exact responsibilities of the role will vary depending on the employer and exact role in which the individual is employed.

All roles will include:

  • Dealing with customers appropriately to gather information and provide explanations of often complex matters
  • Maintaining records in accord with legal requirements
  • Advising customers to maximise their income and ensure they are receiving all help to which they are entitled
  • Understanding the issues customers face and the potential solutions to those issues

A role focused on the Revenues aspects typically includes:

  • Establishing liability for Council Tax and/or Business Rates
  • Setting up and updating accounts
  • Calculating the tax due, including eligibility for discounts, exemptions or other reliefs
  • Arranging for customers to pay the local tax
  • Taking recovery action as required and appropriate, from issuing a reminder through to submitting a case to court for committal

A role focused on the Welfare aspects typically includes:

  • Assessing eligibility for Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support
  • Calculating benefit entitlement in line with current legislation
  • Arranging payments of benefits to customers
  • Re-calculate benefits following changes in circumstances
  • Taking action to recover overpaid amounts
  • Finding and reporting suspected fraud

Individuals appointed in a main role in Revenues will also need a practical and technical knowledge of Welfare Benefits and those appointed in a main role in Welfare Benefits will need a practical and technical knowledge of Revenues.

Whether acting on behalf of the local authority or supporting customers in their dealings with the local authority, Revenues and Welfare Officers provide essential support to local residents in dealing with complex matters which affect their daily life.

Potential roles

Council Tax Officer, Business Rates Officer, Benefits Officer, Benefits Assessor, Welfare Officer, Revenues and Benefits Officer, Benefit Advisor, Welfare Support Worker/Advisors.

Requirements; Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours

 

Knowledge

Legislation, policies and procedures

What is required

Practical and technical knowledge of the relevant legislation to ensure accuracy and legality of actions taken, including:

  • Local Government Finance Act 1988, Local Government Finance Act 1992, Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, Welfare Reform Act 2012 and other relevant acts
  • Current regulations that provide details of how the role must be performed
  • Other relevant legislation, such as Data Protection and Freedom of Information

Understanding of organisational policies and procedures that must be followed in the role, including:

  • Policies that affect how tasks are undertaken, such as Codes of Conduct, anti-fraud strategy or customer service standards
  • Procedures that affect how specific tasks must be undertaken and the reasons these are essential

Systems and processes

What is required

Understanding of the way tasks are completed, including gathering required information, setting up records following initial contact with customers, updating records following changes in circumstances, calculating amounts due, arranging payments, explaining the reasons for actions taken to customers, follow up actions to recover amounts due, court proceedings

Understanding of the systems used to complete tasks

Understanding of the interactivity with other parts of the organisation, such as between revenues and benefits

Dispute and appeal process

What is required

Understanding of the relevant appeal process, including timescales for each stage of the process

Understanding of the way dispute and appeal tasks are completed

Detailed knowledge of the relevant legislation that determines how disputes and appeals must be dealt with

Customers

What is required

Understanding of who your customers are, their circumstances and why they need the support of your department

Financial support available

What is required

Knowledge of how to help and support customers to deal with their financial circumstances. Assist with personal budgeting, providing guidance to the customer to be able to manage this themselves.

Knowledge of the wider welfare benefit system, including:

  • What benefits / credits are available and who is eligible for them
  • The relationship between benefits / credits (e.g. if one affects calculation of another)


 

Skills

Quality service delivery

What is required

Consistently deal with customers politely and considerately, adapting your approach to meet customer and employer needs

Achieve outcomes that the customer wants where possible. Where this is not possible, explain the reasons why. Evaluate and recommend alternative options.

Gather and analyse  information

What is required

Obtain all required information in the most effective way to allow tasks to be completed, considering each customer’s individual circumstances

Interpret and evaluate all information to determine the relevant details for the required task

Interpret and evaluate information to judge whether there is potential fraud indicated. Refer to the appropriate department where required.

Determine whether a dispute should lead to a change of decision and explain the reasons, using appropriate legislation

Handle sensitive information securely and in line with current legislative requirements

Apply knowledge to achieve outcomes

What is required

Analyse and use information and legislation to calculate amounts due when a customer first contacts your department (e.g. new claims or new accounts)

Analyse and use information and legislation to correctly deal with changes in customers’ circumstances, recalculating amounts due where required

Provide justification for any inferences drawn from available information

Decide on the best method of recovery by evaluating the customer’s circumstances. Act on this judgment to start recovery of amounts due.

Use judgement to deal correctly with non-routine situations that arise

Communication

What is required

Adapt your communication style and method to meet the individual’s needs

Communicate confidently by being personable, asking insightful questions and being able to negotiate effectively and respectfully

Personal development

What is required

Undertake activities to ensure knowledge stays current

Problem solving and decision making

Take appropriate action within the limits of your authority to solve problems or make relevant colleagues aware of them

Make accurate decisions based on the information available

Team working and collaboration

What is required

Support team members to achieve the best outcome for the team

Request assistance or authorisation when required

Communicate with other departments to achieve required outcomes

Using systems and procedures

What is required

Proficiently use the systems available to achieve tasks

Refer to processes to determine the action to be taken

Financial Support

What is required

Evaluate the customers financial position, assisting with personal budgeting where appropriate, or directing the customer to appropriate support

 

Behaviours

Accountability

What is required

Take responsibility for your actions, including admitting mistakes

Take appropriate action to correct any mistakes made

Change and improvement

What is required

Be open to change. Amend your working practices in response to changes in processes with a positive attitude.

Collaborating and partnering

What is required

Work with colleagues, other departments or other organisations to achieve outcomes for your customers and organisation

Delivering at pace

What is required

Complete your tasks at a pace that ensures that you maintain accuracy, meet expectations and play your part in your team’s performance

Dependability

What is required

Meet personal commitments, including attendance, punctuality and completing tasks assigned to you

Honesty and integrity

What is required

Be truthful and sincere in your speech and actions

Do the right thing even when this may seem difficult

Professional scepticism

What is required

Understand that there are people who try to abuse the system

Be cautious about information received where needed and check its accuracy where possible

Qualification 

Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths (or equivalent) will need to achieve this prior to the end point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and Maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

Level 

Level 4

Duration 

This apprenticeship will typically take 12 -18 months

Review Date 

This should take place 3 years after approval

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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