Forest of Dean District Council has launched a new revenues and benefits partnership with Gloucester City Council in conjunction with Civica, a market leader in specialist systems and business process services that help organisations transform the way they work.
The new agreement will see Forest of Dean District Council partner with Gloucester City Council and Civica to deliver a revenues & benefits service which keeps jobs in the Forest area, maintains and improves the delivery of local services whilst achieving annual savings in excess of £100k a year.
By combining services with Gloucester City Council, Forest of Dean District Council will benefit from a cost efficient service model with lower operating costs than retaining in-house provision. Through the partnership with Civica, jobs will be retained within the local area and the council will have a stable platform to drive back-office savings in administration and the right environment to support innovation and pilot new ways of working to improve the delivery of services. This will build on the existing partnership with Gloucester City Council which currently supports the Forest of Dean’s welfare rights services.
The new partnership builds on the Gloucester revenues & benefits centre of excellence set up with Civica in October 2011 which delivers improved service performance and annual savings of £220,000 to Gloucester while sustaining local employment. The service centre also provides OnDemand services initially to nine councils to help manage peak workloads or short-term resource requirements via an expert and flexible pay-as-you-go processing service.
Cllr Brian Robinson, cabinet member for Efficient Council and Planning Policy at Forest of Dean District Council said: “We are very pleased to be able to join up with Gloucester City Council in this innovative partnership for our revenues and benefits services. This enables us to deliver an even better service for our customers giving them the option of going to Coleford or, in the future to Gloucester, whichever is most convenient. Staff will continue to work in the Forest of Dean and we will deliver a saving of £100,000 without reducing the level of service we provide.
“The government’s Universal Credit will eventually replace housing benefit and the steps we are taking will help us prepare for future changes locally and keep jobs in the Forest of Dean. The council already works successfully with Gloucester City Council in a number of areas including welfare benefits advice.”
Forest of Dean District Council already uses Civica’s specialist IT systems to facilitate revenues and benefits services including fraud management. Based on the existing relationship and Civica’s detailed understanding of the council’s software environment, the company is in a position to quickly deliver IT-based efficiencies and innovation to help drive down costs and support improved services.
Commenting on the announcement, Debbie Llewellyn, deputy leader and cabinet member for performance and resources at Gloucester City Council explained that: “This exciting new partnership builds upon our existing successes with both the Forest of Dean and Civica. By joining forces to achieve cost-efficient revenues and benefits services, we’re also able to sustain our contribution to the regional economy.”
Simon Downing, chief executive, Civica stated that: “This partnership represents the next stage in delivering a model for revenues and benefits administration from our centre of excellence and innovation with Gloucester City Council. We’re delighted to be working with the Forest of Dean District Council and look forward to developing this partnership further.”