Managing change - the move to a united revenues and benefits department
Revenues and Benefits software from Capita Software Services had been successfully used at Chester City Council, Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council and Vale Royal Borough Council for many years.
The three authorities merged together on 1st April 2009, along with Cheshire County Council, to form the new Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority (CW&C), providing services for over 327,500 people. The new unitary authority saw Capita as the natural choice to advise on and supply its revenues and benefits software because of the company's proven strength in this arena.
Jerry Faulkner, Senior Manager, Revenues and Benefits, at Cheshire West and Chester Council, identified key challenges that needed to be addressed in merging the revenues and benefits functions of the authorities.
Technical consultancy was provided by Capita to procure, build and install all software and hardware at the customer's site. Integration with other corporate systems was also undertaken as CW&C needed to share data with Oracle financial software, a new corporate cash receipting system from Anite and an electronic document management software system from Civica.
- Staff can access the system at any of the three sites so can work on any claim from any area
- With mobile working options, council tax and benefit officers will be able to check and record information electronically in the field, accessing further efficiencies
- Considerable savings in internal ICT support and maintenance are being achieved as there is simply less to maintain
- Increased performance in claimant visits, benefit take up and overpayment recovery has been experienced
- These improvements have been made in conjunction with a reduction in staff, the delivery of an intensive training programme, increased volumes of claims (up to 30%), and a greater number of incoming and outgoing telephone calls
- The new common process model has led to a much easier system for both customers and employees.
In the future, CW&C is looking at using Capita Revenues and Benefits' eBilling application to enable council tax and business rates customers to sign up online and receive their bills via email. Capita's Self-Service software is also under consideration to enable customers to view their revenues and benefits information securely online.