The data in this publication is submitted by the 32 Scottish local authorities via the ScotXed secure data exchange platform. Local authorities are asked to complete information on the following four questions.
- what is the number of DHP applications you have received in the year to date? (If a claimant re-applies for DHPs, this should be recorded as a new application and those rolled over from the previous year should be a new application for the purpose of the statistics).
- what is the number of DHP determinations you have made in the year to date? (This is the number of DHP applications where a decision has been made).
- what is the number of DHP awards you have made in the year to date? (This is the number of DHP applications where a decision to make an award has been made).
- what is the total value of DHP awards (in GBP) spent or committed in the year to date? (You should add up the total amount paid to each claimant. For example, if the award is £10.00 per week for 20 weeks, the total award value for the claimant should be recorded as £200.00. If the payment is a one-off payment, then the award amount for the claimant is simply the amount paid).
Additional guidance on the monitoring of DHPs can be found online.
To check the quality of the data we receive, we compare the responses to the above questions with the responses given the month before. We would normally expect the number of applications, determinations, awards and total value of awards to increase each month. Where this is not the case, we contact the local authority to query their responses.
This publication contains the latest up-to-date figures but there will be differences with previous publications for the same months. The difference should generally be positive but reconciliations by local authorities, where money has not been spent, can sometimes produce negative differences.
For some local authorities, the number of applications is lower than the number of decisions or awards. There are two possible reasons for this. Firstly, some of the decisions made in this financial year may have been on applications which commenced in the previous financial year. Secondly, some local authorities have reporting systems and processes set up so that a single application can have multiple decisions and awards attached to it. For example, multiple decisions and/or awards might be made on an application in RSRS cases where local authorities extend the award from the previous year into the next financial year without requiring a new application to be made. Some local authorities may also make a new award to an applicant moving from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit without requiring a new application.
This also means that the number of DHPs awarded is not equal to the number of people receiving awards – each applicant may receive more than one award.
In publications covering DHP data to December 2016, the number of applications was adjusted upwards for local authorities where there were fewer applications than decisions or awards. From the DHP publication with data to March 2017 onwards, we have reported the original number of applications submitted to the statistics branch by each local authority, even if there are fewer applications than decisions and awards. This way of reporting is more reliable as it does not require an estimate of the number of applications rolling on from the previous year. Further, it enables these local authorities to more accurately check their figures.
Known data quality issues with 2022/23 figures:
- East Renfrewshire cannot provide data on number of determinations, because their system does not record determinations which are ‘unsuccessful’. In this publication, we assume that the number of determinations was the same as the number of applications.
- since April 2020, Moray’s applications, determinations and awards figures have been lower than previous years, which may be due to a change in their reporting system. These values may not include applications extended from previous years or determinations where an award has not been made. Expenditure figures have been unaffected.
- due to a software issue Falkirk’s committed spend was estimated based on their actual spend, which may affect expenditure figures in the Official Statistics during the year. However, it will not affect the end of year expenditure figure in the Official Statistics as this includes actual spend only.
In addition to the statistical data above, the Scottish Government requests management information on DHPs from each local authority. This information is collected biannually, on 30 September and 31 March, via a template that is emailed to each local authority. Local authorities are asked to provide a breakdown of the total actual spend across five funding streams – Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS, also known as the “Bedroom Tax”), Benefit Cap, Local Housing Allowance, Core (non-welfare reform) and a combination figure.
The majority of local authorities are able to provide a breakdown of their actual spend by the five funding streams, although some have problems detailing their spend due to their reporting methods. The proportion of estimated funding spent has been checked, and where a very high or very low proportion of “Other DHP” funding has been spent these figres have been confirmed with local authorities.
Comparison of statistics and management information
At the mid-year point, we would expect that the management information figures would be lower than the Official Statistics and approximately 50% of the total estimated funding spent. This is because the Official Statistics includes actual spend and committed spend, whereas the management information includes only the actual spend. Where this is not the case, we contact the local authority to query their responses.
Comparisons with other UK statistics
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publishes statistics on Discretionary Housing Payments. The most recent statistics cover DHPs in England and Wales only. Previous versions of the statistics up until March 2017 cover DHPs in Great Britain.
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