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Business Plan 2003/04











Contents Page No



Purpose statement 5

∑ ILF Principles 5

Summary of current position 5


1 Maintaining progress in improving user service 8

2 Effective relationships 9

3 Secure and accurate processes 11

4 Appropriate policies and process applied effectively 12

5 Making the best use of resources 13

6 Maintaining the process for better planning for the future 14

7 Effective management of processes and people 15

8 Training and development to help the organisation 16

9 Focusing on modernisation 17


∑ Delivering improved user service 18

∑ Effective relationships 18

∑ Secure and accurate processes 19

∑ Appropriate policies and process applied effectively 19

∑ Making the best use of resources 19

∑ Maintaining the process for better planning 19

∑ Effective management of people and processes 19

∑ Training and development to help the organisation 20

∑ Focusing on modernisation 20

∑ Performance measures 20



1 Performance measures 22


I am very pleased to present the ILF Business Plan for 2003/04.

Over the last two years a considerable amount of work has been done to review all areas of the organisation. In addition the 5 yearly report from the Department For Work and Pensions published in December 2001 resulted in some significant changes to our policies and we also initiated a major change in our processes with a programme of visiting users every two years.

The coming year will be challenging for us as we continue with our efforts to modernise the way we work so that we can give a better service to all our users. We will not lose sight of the fact that we are here to help people with high support needs and continually improve our service.

We have made progress in the last two years but recognise that we have to maintain and continue to improve on our current performance. To achieve this we have identified the need to change the way we work including looking again at our processes and using IT more effectively.

Over the last year we have focused on creating a performance management system and believe this will help us to sustain our current efforts. We will now report our progress against some key performance measures for the delivery of our service.

I know that our capacity to improve is down to the hard work of all the staff and everyone who is associated with us. We are committed to providing a supportive working environment where changes can be managed positively and successfully.

Everyone who works for the Fund understands the issues and priorities. We are very committed to achieving what we have set out to do.

Elaine Morton
Chief Executive
April 2003                                                                                                                                                         Back To Top





The ILF was created in 1988 and provides financial assistance with the costs of personal care and domestic assistance for people with high support needs to live in their own homes rather than in residential care.

The Funds are constituted as discretionary Trusts covering the whole of the UK and are funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Social Development for Northern Ireland (DSD).

A Board of 7 Trustees appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions manages the Trusts. Within the framework of the Trust Deeds the Trustees have discretion about whom they help.

Awards are in the form of regular four weekly payments to individuals. Recipients have the choice to use care agencies or employ personal assistants.

There are two Funds; the Extension Fund and the 1993 Fund.

The Extension Fund is a closed Fund and does not take new applications. It assists only those who were clients between 1988 and 1993. The maximum amount that can be paid is £665 per week.

The 1993 Fund accepts new users and works in partnership with Local Councils who have to contribute a minimum of £200 per week in cash or services before the ILF can assist. The maximum that can be paid from this Fund is £395 per week.

As at December 2002 the Extension Fund had 7,144 users and the 1993 Fund had 8,800 users.


The total UK budget for 2003/04 is £196 million.

The ILF is accountable to Parliament for the use of public money and we will continue to work hard to achieve the highest standards of probity and financial management.

The Fund is administered from Nottingham with 150 staff and 84 self employed Visiting Social Workers who carry out assessments throughout the UK. The Fund handles over 100,000 items of post and 120,000 phone calls per year.

The organisation has grown rapidly in the last three years. As we had outgrown our old offices we successfully moved in January 2003 premises reflecting our expanding activities.

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Our Purpose Statement is;

"To provide financial assistance, under the terms of the Trust Deeds, in an efficient, cost effective way that respects and supports a disabled personís requirements for personal care and domestic assistance which enables independent living."                                                                       

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ILF Principles

We have identified some key principles to structure the way we want to work with each other as well as with anyone who has an interest in what we do.


Externally they concentrate on -

∑ Maintaining a professional approach

∑ Continuing to respect people and

∑ Making a difference in the service we deliver

Internally they focus on -

∑ Achieving what we need to do

∑ Respecting work colleagues

∑ Developing potential

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Summary of current position

Over the last two years we have refocused on what we need to do as an organisation. Achievements to date include;

∑ Creating an emphasis on actively consulting with our users on our service and listening to what they have to say. We have set up of a user group in Nottingham who meet with us every two months.

∑ Revising the application form and the leaflets we send out to our users so that we give clear and straightforward information.

∑ Creating a complaints procedure which is publicised so that users can tell us when they think we have not done things well.

∑ Developing a strategy to work with local councils focusing presentations more effectively.

∑ Beginning the process of reviewing our policies as well as introducing the majority of the policy changes from the five yearly review completed by DWP in December 2001.

∑ Continuing to develop systems that give us assurance about the quality of all the stages in our processing including the Visiting Social Workers.

∑ Developing a performance management system to show our results.

∑ Developing the process to identify and manage the key risks to achieving our objectives.

∑ Introducing the system of internal checks to give high standards of assurance to auditors.

∑ Successfully testing the process of ensuring that we could continue our business for our users if we could not get access to our computer system at our offices.

∑ Developing appropriate staff policies to meet the changing needs of the organisation.

∑ Developing a Training and Development strategy which is focused on our business need including the recent appointment of a qualified trainer.

Over the next 12 months the focus continues to be on maintaining the progress we have made in;

∑ Providing an effective service to users by making payments securely and accurately with minimum delays.

∑ Making the best use of resources available to us by continuing the work we have started to ensure we have effective and efficient work processes.

∑ Building relationships with external customers and other stakeholders.

∑ Providing effective management support for staff as we continue to modernise.

We are aiming to establish even better working practices for the future. Some of the changes will take some time. We have made some improvements in our performance but we recognise that to sustain these and further improve the standards of the delivery of our service we must manage further change successfully.
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We are committed to;


1 Maintaining the progress made and continuing to deliver further improvements in user service


As an organisation, which exists to help those with high support needs, the way we offer our service and how well we deliver that service are vital indicators for us. We are working hard to achieve further improvements by;

∑ Ensuring we understand what users think of our service to help us improve our standards

∑ Reviewing the organisation structure to support new and improved services to users

∑ Improving the way we deal with correspondence

∑ Investing in relevant training

∑ Implementing the plans we have to improve performance and deliver the agreed targets.

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2 Ensuring we have effective relationships with those who are involved with us

We need good working relationships with others who have a direct involvement in how we do what we do. This means ensuring key groups of people in our processes understand our requirements and we also appreciate their position. We also aim to provide information and services to these groups (known as our stakeholders) in a professional way.

Key relationships are with;

∑ Users

∑ Local Councils and

∑ Government bodies such as Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and National Audit Office (NAO)



We have recognised that we should involve our users more in telling us what we do well and where we could do better.

We started a user group, meeting in Nottingham, in September 2001 which has been very successful. We now aim to widen the consultation with users in other parts of the UK to maintain a strong focus on user service.

To add to the work we have done on user leaflets we aim to give an even better service by redesigning our forms to help users provide information in a way which will better help us to help them.


Local Councils

Although local councils have the legal responsibility to provide community care we have a very close working partnership arrangement. Local Councils have a significant contribution to make to the quality of the service we give. We recognise that our working relationship can only operate successfully if there is common understanding of our respective roles within the partnership arrangement. This means ensuring that our liaison with them works as effectively as possible. To focus on the service to our users we also aim to get quality information at the right time from those who supply information to us. This will help improve the efficiency of our work processing and the overall level of user satisfaction with our service. We aim to review where, when and how we the make presentations to local councils. In addition we aim to continue the working relationships we have with the contact officers who work for each local council and act as our liaison point. They too play a vital role for us.


We aim to give assurances that we can continue to account effectively for the monies we pay to our users and that we are efficient in the way we operate. We will have a budget of £186.5 million for payments to users and £6 million on administration costs.

Maintaining high standards of corporate governance and public accountability is important. We aim to make sure that adequate financial and management controls are in place which includes producing accounts that meet the required standards.

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3 Ensuring we have secure and accurate processes in all areas of our work

This will continue to be delivered through the effective risk management processes, financial and internal controls that we have already set up.

We aim to maintain the improvements we have started to make in improving accuracy and reducing error in our systems. This also extends to the correctness of our decisions in terms of consistency of application of our policies as well as payment accuracy.

The aim also extends to continue with the checking of the quality of data we hold on our computer system QUASAR.

In addition we have been working with DWP for 18 months to gain access to services which will match our information with theirs and hope to have this process operational in the next year.

We also aim to target more effectively the resources used in compliance work to ensure that opportunities for irregularity are minimised and users receive the correct award. For the year to December 2002 we recovered £848,000 of overpaid monies. Although the proportion of users with an overpayment is less than 3% further work will be aimed to strengthen the analysis of causes and trends in overpayments.

We recognise the value that external assurance can provide on the approach we have to security in our operations. We therefore aim to meet the standards required for BSI 7799 in Information Security Management Systems by March 04.

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4 Ensuring we have appropriate policies and processes applied effectively

Maintaining the progress made and further improving the quality and consistency of decisions remains a high priority. The new checking system introduced in October 2002 will continue to be used to improve feedback on decisions made. To do this we recognise the need to ensure we have well designed and documented policies and processes which are understood and used appropriately. A significant amount of work has already been completed but we aim to continue with this ongoing review and restatement of policies during the year.

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5 Making the best use of resources

The Fund has low administration costs, running at 3% of the total budget available. However we will continue to look for efficiencies in our running costs spending.

In addition we aim to evaluate the performance management system to ensure it adds value by giving useful information at the right time.

We also intend to improve our processes and invest further in IT- to ensure that we modernise our services around efficient service and user need and make full use of relevant IT developments.

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6 Maintaining the processes for better planning for the future

We recognise that we need to be able to give appropriate assurances that we meet all our legal and government requirements.

We also aim to ensure we meet the legal requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act, Data Protection Act and Freedom Of Information Act whilst maintaining our capacity to respond to legislative and policy changes within the range of issues on community care.

In addition we aim to ensure our business continuity plans are reviewed and remain robust.

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7 Ensuring effective management of Processes and People

We recognise that our staff are working hard during the changes we have been making.

We aim to continue investing in our staff, maintaining our commitment to equal opportunity and continuing to provide a range of personnel policies to reflect a modern forward looking organisation.

As already outlined continuing the work which has already started to improve our ways of working relies on making full use of management information, sharing good practice and providing training and guidance.

We aim to reshape the role of the managers within the organisation and provide the necessary management support for the changes in emphasis in the roles.

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8 Ensuring Training and Development helps the organisation

The focus of our training and development strategy is that training should meet our business needs. Key priorities have been identified as

∑ Management and leadership skills

∑ Customer service and communication skills and

∑ Enhanced technical training to include decision making.

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9 Focusing on Modernisation

We aim to develop and implement a range of changes to deliver a more efficient administration.

They include -

∑ Implementing an IT strategy so that all staff are better supported by modern IT. Examples include the use of E mail as the normal method of communication internally

∑ Developing IT to enable improved options for methods for anyone to communicate with us

∑ Improving processes for letter production

∑ Developing our web site further by undertaking a project to look at the development of electronic forms to replace some of our clerical forms

∑ Further developing the software of our computer system to improve functionality

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We will be working towards the following specific work objectives;

Delivering improved user service

∑ Completing the review of all forms used by users including the VSW report by the end of March 04

∑ Ensuring revised user leaflets are available in other languages by December 2003 and accessible within local councils by January 2004

∑ Improving the time a letter takes to be word processed to 3 days by September 2003

∑ Evaluating and restructuring the current complaints procedure by the end of July 2003

∑ Introducing a process for requests for our decisions to be reviewed by April 2003

∑ Evaluating and restructuring the VSW assurance process by the end of October 2003

Ensuring effective relationships with those who have an interest in what we do

Expanding user consultation with initial meetings held in 2 more locations in addition to maintaining those already held in Nottingham and London. Increasing newsletters to users and disability organisations to twice a year.

Producing a guide for Professional Users to the Funds such as those employed by local councils by the end of December 2003.

Ensuring there is 100% effective representation within the local council contact officer network.

Completing research into Direct Payments schemes and Personal Assistance Support schemes by the end of March 2004.

Completing research into the primary reasons for failure of applications from local councils by the end of March 2004.


Ensuring secure and accurate processes in all areas

∑ Piloting the use of the developed DWP matching data service by the end of September 2003

∑ Developing a formal programme to validate the quality of our computer data by March 2004

Appropriate policies and procedures applied effectively                                                                   Back To Top

Introducing guidance for staff and explanations for those involved in what we do on a more structured decision making process by the end of September 2003.

Producing a policy/processes work programme for the year by the end of May 2003 and make significant progress with the creation of a policy and procedures guide by the end of March 04.

Making the best use of resources

Reviewing options for the organisation of work by the end of May 2003 with any changes in place for 2004.

Maintaining the processes for better planning

∑ Completing and testing the Business continuity plans with an evaluation report by November 2003

∑ Producing plans to handle FOIA requirements by December 2003

∑ Producing an agreed policy and plans to meet DPA needs on document retention by September 2003.

∑ Producing plans to meet the requirements of the Race Relations Act by May 2003.

∑ Completing the project to ensure all internal forms are in a consistent format by March 2004.

Ensuring effective management of people and processes

∑ Introducing an anti harassment policy for staff by November 2003

∑ Introducing a conduct and discipline policy for staff by March 2004

∑ Introducing a grievance policy for staff by March 2004

∑ Reviewing the policy for staff on equal opportunities in the light of the EU Equal Treatment Directive by November 2003

∑ Reviewing the policy on staff recruitment by September 2003

Ensuring Training and Development helps the Organisation

Training programme in the following key areas to have been developed and delivered by end of March 04.

∑ Customer service

∑ Use of IT and Management skills

∑ New entrant training to be reviewed by April 2003 to ensure it includes all relevant technical including decision making and user service issues

Focusing on Modernisation

∑ All staff to have E-mail, Word and Excel by March 2004

∑ Undertake a project to look at providing website in other languages by October 2003

Performance Measures

Measures have been set to give a better indication to our users of the quality of service they will receive.

It will also give assurance to anyone involved with us about how we are performing as an organisation.

The achievement of these measures will show that we have improved our performance in the key areas.

The measures are summarised in Appendix 1                                                                                             

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The ILF has a key role in delivering a quality service to disabled people with high support needs.

This plan sets out how we intend to continue to improve the delivery of the existing service to ensure that we can show that we offer value for money in the way we do what we do.

The emphasis is on continuing with;

∑ Revising work processes

∑ Actively managing work performance

∑ Defining expectations and equipping people for the roles

∑ IS/ IT development.

Further Information, comments or feedback, the plan is on our website at 


Comments, feedback or questions on the content of this document are welcomed. Please send any comments to;

James Sanderson - Communications Development Manager

PO BOX 7525

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Appendix 1 - Performance Measures

Improved User service

Improve the average time taken to make an offer of financial assistance on new applications from current 132 days to 130 days by September 2003 and 105 days by March 2004

Improve the average time taken to complete a review visit for Extension Fund users from current 132 to 84 days by March 2004

Improve the average time taken to complete a review visit for 1993 Fund users from current 219 to 105 days by March 2004

At least 90% of letters not satisfied about our service to be answered within the 28 day deadline set

At least 95% of requests for decisions to be looked at again to be completed within the 28 day deadline set

At least 90% of letters sent meet the required quality standard by September 03 and 95% by March 04

Effective relationships with those who have an interest in what we do

Deliver presentations to a minimum of 25% of the total number of local councils

Local council satisfaction level with our service to be at least 90%

Secure and Accurate processes

Payment accuracy to be at least 90%

Overall work quality standard to be at least 90%

Security standard to be met in at least 95% of cases selected for check

Number of usersí circumstances to be matched with DWP information to be at least 50% by March 2004

Amount of monies overpaid to be no more than 3% of the total amount of user payments made.

Number of compliance irregularities to be no higher than 2% of total number of users receiving payment.


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