This week has seen us concentrate on moving forward the outstanding applications that have been in the system the longest. We are sorting the applications that have been received, and payment made, into queues within Next Steps. This process will allow us to prioritise where we direct our available resources and will make a difference to those people who have been waiting the longest.
We do know that there are a large number of applications that have not moved forward because we are waiting for further action from applicants. The requests may be:
We are checking where applications have not moved forward, but each one has to be looked at manually and this will take some time. Applicants can help move their applications forward by checking that they have complied with any requests that they have received from the SIA. Messages from the SIA often contain more than one request for action, so please check that all requests have been carried out. We are working to make the messages to people clearer so that these action requests are not missed.
We have made decisions on over 24,000 applications since the system was introduced.
We are currently dispatching documents back to people after no more than 11 working days.
We did not have a scheduled release of new software to the system from our suppliers this week. The decision was taken to give them a longer period of time to deal with some more complex issues. We are expecting a software release next week and will tell you about it in the next update.
We have continued to add to the number of temporary staff that we are employing to help answer queries and to free up other staff to deal with the application queues. A larger number of people are having their queries answered in a shorter time, and we are dealing with more outstanding queries than are being received
We know that there are some people who are still frustrated about their interaction with us. We are sorry if it takes longer than it should for you to receive a response. We are actively recruiting more staff so that we can further improve our service.