Stockport wins LGC IT Initiative of the Year Award for revenues and benefits transformation
Long-time Civica partner Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) has won the prestigious LGC IT Initiative of the year Award 2012 for its highly successful programme to transform its revenues and benefits administration while cutting costs.
The award recognises Stockport’s outstanding success in migrating from paper-based operations to a position where all new claims are now dealt with electronically, using a system which was designed and implemented by Civica, a market leader in specialist systems and business process services, and IEG4. The programme has ensured that the council is processing nearly half of benefits claims within one day but is also making annual cost savings of over £134,000 in doing so.
The system transformation was made possible by the use of Civica’s OPENRevenues e-Benefits module which enables the immediate import of data entered on the electronic claim forms provided by IEG4. Inputting data from paper forms is a complex and labour intensive task and one of the primary reasons that the average time to process a new housing and council tax benefit claim is 24 days. By deploying the Civica e-Benefits module and IEG4 electronic claim forms, Stockport MBC is now able to process 41% of its claims in a single day.
Stockport’s project has delivered improved data accuracy as well as a 30-minute saving of benefits officers’ time saving on every single claim in comparison with the previous system. The council is now saving over £60,000 in, document scanning, indexing and print/post costs alone by switching to the paperless benefits system.
Through the transformation, Stockport can also shift face-to-face administration work away from its central office to local branches. This has reduced workload pressures on the central revenues and benefits team, enhanced service to claimants and made it easier if benefits have to be paid direct to landlords, and reduced claimants’ need to travel to the town halls to discuss their case.
Alison Blount, Head of Revenues and Benefits, Stockport MBC, said: “We’re delighted to win the award. The paper-free benefits project has transformed processing times to help protect vulnerable people more effectively while reducing costs. Customers and landlords alike are delighted with the improved service.”
Bill Loughrey, managing director, Civica’s local government division said: “Every local authority has to improve services and make savings in line with the Government’s reduced funding. We are glad to be a part of an award-winning project that shows how services can be improved while still making significant cost savings.”
LGC’s efficiency channel, providing the latest local government news, comment and analysis.
In association with Civica, software and IT service providers, specialising in public sector work, including local authorities.