Teignbridge syndicate wins Government cash

keyboard-2308477_1280.jpg

Government funding has been awarded to a joint project led by Teignbridge District Council that involves working with five other councils to explore a new IT system that would deal more effectively with Council Tax, Business Rate and Benefits administration.

Government funding has been awarded to a joint project led by Teignbridge District Council that involves working with five other councils to explore a new IT system that would deal more effectively with Council Tax, Business Rate and Benefits administration.

This is the area of local authority work that covers the collection of Council Tax, Business Rates and managing residents’ claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

This week (31 October) the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that it has awarded £71,000 to the project team from its Local Digital Fund for Discovery Projects.

This means that Teignbridge and its syndicate partners can begin work on exploring the viability of creating a customer focused, configurable and cost-effective modern IT system for processing Revenue and Benefits data.

Consortium

The other five council members of the consortium are Exeter City Council, East Devon, Basildon Council and Brentwood Council in Essex and Sedgemoor District Council in Somerset.

An additional partner in the project will be Strata Service Solutions, a company set up to manage IT systems for Exeter City, East Devon and Teignbridge. Strata will be able to bring specialist IT knowledge to the project, whilst Sedgemoor developed their own in-house Revenue and Benefits system 25 years ago and have maintained a high level of performance on processing claims, whilst supporting this system in-house.

In addition to the funding award, the Ministry is also offering the project team training from the Government’s GDS Academy, aimed at improving public sector workers’ digital skills, as well as five places on a digital workshop.

Every district council in the country is required to process benefits claims and administer council tax and business rates, typically using an externally supplied system.

Efficient

Each Council needs an IT platform to enable their customers’ accounts to be processed in a timely, accurate and efficient manner. But systems currently available are out-dated and new, smarter, slicker systems are not being developed by commercial suppliers.

This is why the six councils have got together to explore a way forward using cutting edge technology and staff expertise. They believe there’s a good chance of creating a value for money system that is not only more efficient but bespoke, putting customers at the very heart of the process and speeding up delivery.

Councillor Martin Wrigley, Teignbridge’s Portfolio Holder for Customer Services and IT, said: “I’m delighted that a team from our district will be leading on this vital project to find a much more customer-friendly system for handing Revenues and Benefits.

Bespoke

“It’s in the interests of all councils to continuously seek better, more efficient ways of serving our customers and digital solutions are becoming more and more important. Whilst we are always open to buying in suitable systems, these will inevitably be off the peg and commercially priced. How much better is it to develop our own solutions in-house so we get a product that is bespoke, more cost-effective and could even be sold on to other councils like our own”.

All 6 local authorities are seeking to redevelop and transform their frontline services to improve user experience and to digitise processes through the development of customer platforms. These projects include user research and testing, process mapping and iterative development. The project leads and team members all have varying degrees of previous experience in finding digital solutions that involve customer profiling.

You can join us on our social media pages, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and keep up to date with whats going on in South Devon.

Got a news story, blog or press release that you’d like to share or want to advertise with us? Contact us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *