Delivering vital cost savings and eradicating fraud
With local authority purse strings being tightened like never before, and the spotlight on benefit and discount fraud growing increasingly stronger, the London Borough of Bexley decided to undertake a major review of single person discounts (SPD) for its council tax base. This would ensure that those receiving the discount were genuinely entitled to it and those claiming fraudulently were identified and their entitlement removed. The review would also potentially create much needed revenue for the Council and help to ensure that council tax for citizens of the Borough was kept as low as possible. It was essential that the review was conducted in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible with minimal impact on council tax employees, and it needed to perform better than previously-tried processes.
A fully-managed SPD review was carried out by Capita, in conjunction with Equifax, to identify risk and remove SPDs where appropriate. Crucially, Capita took on the project on a risk-andreward basis, with Bexley only being charged for any discounts that were actually removed and that stayed off for a defined period. Capita, therefore, provided the resources from its dedicated SPD team to conduct the review, ensuring there was no additional workload for staff within Bexley's council tax office.
A total of 2,036 SPD were removed as a result of the review, representing 9.6% of the original caseload. This created £750,000 worth of additional current year revenue for the London Borough of Bexley, as well as £450,000 for previous years. By reducing the number of SPD claimants, Bexley Council has been able to increase its council tax base with the result that it will be able to keep council tax as low as possible in future years, benefiting local citizens in the longer term.