Lead organisation: LookingLocal


Product Synopsis

BetterOff HB/CTR delivers the high-volume Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction (HB/CTR) form in a digital-first, fully supported solution with back-end integration and a range of assisted digital tools. Designed by public sector partners and based on the successful benefit/employment solution BetterOff, offering 100% online form completion.


Product Description

BetterOff Housing Benefit / Council Tax Reduction (HB/CTR) is a fully managed, turn-key solution enabling councils to offer an end-to-end digital solution for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction & Free School Meal (FSM) claimants. Unlike other solutions in this field, BetterOff HB/CTR can be tailored to your organisation to reflect local processes and needs.


A derivative of the ground-breaking BetterOff solution, which covers a wider range of benefits, BetterOff HB/CTR focuses solely on the HB/CTR form and is underpinned by a range of assisted digital tools, intuitive user-focused design and offers integration with any back-end system. It is a comprehensive system delivering HB/CTR, offering significant customer service satisfaction, as well as reduced volumes of ‘follow-on’ activity currently experienced both in offline and some online environments.  


BetterOff HB/CTR has deconstructed the HB/CTR form and redesigned it to encourage the highest levels of digital completion. Working with frontline experts, each question in the form is supported by plain English, is written for the web, and offers multimedia guidance to help people understand what is required at every step. The automatic ‘Save & Return’ functionality means that claimants can save the form as they go along and won’t lose any progress if they have to leave the session for any reason.


Assisted digital tools include the ability to evoke a webchat session at any point in the form/process, as well as the unique capability for expert benefit advisors to co-browse (with permission) the forms with claimants in real-time - think GoogleDocs meets HB/CTR - both of which have proven to increase online completion rates. The solution is integrated with UserLike webchat solution already and can be integrated with other webchat solutions to deliver the same level of functionality.


BetterOff HB/CTR is - as the name suggests - focused on one specific form, however the solution is underpinned by the wider entitledto benefits calculator, which enables claimants not only to work through their estimated HB/CTR calculation, but also to see whether they might be eligible for other benefits.


Ensuring access for all claimants and removing the responsibility of account recovery overheads from local authorities was key in the design of BetterOff HB/CTR. Organisations can choose to allow all or any of the following combination of login options:

  • Google;
  • Facebook;
  • Two-factor authentication via mobile;
  • A dedicated BetterOff for HB/CTR identity;
  • An anonymous HB/CTR reference number.


There is also an option to login using a PIN, which has been developed to enable wider advocate use. The system can also integrate with local or other third party ID systems if required. The overhead of the account recovery means that many councils handle calls regarding login details, but with BetterOff HB/CTR the in-built account recovery system enables the claimant to manage their own account/login details without the need for advisor intervention.


To ensure timely submission of claim forms there is a reminder function that can be activated to text or email claimants that they haven’t submitted their claim. Following on from the submission process BetterOff HB/CTR provides the claimant with a dynamic, personalised evidence list based on each claimant’s circumstances which details what documents will be required to support their claim. This list can be emailed or texted to claimants and includes instructions on how to supply the evidence, again to reduce the number of related visits/calls.


Once the form is complete a PDF is sent to the claimant and to the back-office systems as well. BetterOff HB/CTR offers integration with Academy, Civica and Northgate HB/CTR back-end systems via to our partnership with Govtech. BetterOff for HB/CTR is a truly end-to-end digital service designed to deliver digital efficiencies at every stage of the process.

BetterOff HB/CTR Service Features

  • Fully managed cloud solution
  • Redesigned digital-first HB/CTR form with embedded multi-media guidance
  • Fully integratable with major back-end benefits systems
  • Underpinned by HB/CTR entitlement calculator
  • Range of assisted digital tools including webchat and form co-production
  • Multiple log-in and ID verification mechanisms supported
  • Self-service account recovery process
  • Dynamic personalised supporting evidence lists
  • Intuitive design, responsive & mobile friendly
  • Range of reporting tools

BetterOff HB/CTR Service Benefits

  • Self-service solution for 100% of HB/CTR claimants
  • Wide ranging integration benefits
  • Supports and encourages advocate use
  • Redefines complex paper-based process; removing high levels of contact
  • Reduces revenues & benefits budget
  • Offers local tailoring of forms based individual council needs
  • Reduces contact
  • Clear and intuitive ‘end of form’ process
  • Speeds up benefit application process
  • Standalone solution or available as part of wider benefits solution