Capita helps local authorities collect millions more in council tax

02 November 2017 3 min. read

Two local governments in the UK have recouped millions of pounds in council tax, thanks to a digital transformation programme of revenues services and enhanced use of enforcement measures. The scheme was supported by consultants from Capita.

Authorities from the Vale of the White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council have partnered with professional services firm Capita, in order to digitise and enhance revenue collections, utilising methods which included a drive to promote direct debit payments for council tax, electronic billing and a new online portal to manage bills. The new digital channels saw as many as 22,000 (80%) of residents across the two locales opt into direct debit payments. The process helps ensure that payments arrive on time, reducing the risk of them being pursued by the council over late payments, while enabling councils to save money on prosecuting late payments, and freeing up staff to focus on more testing matters.

The digital programmes have contributed towards increased collection, alongside year on year growth in collectable debit. Compared to 2014 figures, the District Council in Vale of White Horse collected an extra £7.4 million in council tax in 2016, while South Oxfordshire collected a £6.8 million windfall over the same period. Meanwhile, where council tax was overdue, the use of enhanced digital initiatives together with persistent enforcement action resulted in £1.6 million in arrears being collected.

Capita helps local authorities collect millions more in council tax

The digital transformation of revenues collection is part of Capita’s Five Council’s Partnership with Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire, Hart and Mendip District Councils and Havant Borough Council. The remaining three councils will hope for similar results when they launch their digital transformation programmes later in 2017.

Councillor Matthew Barber, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said that the increasing numbers paying by direct debit, along with the growing popularity of online billing protected the public purse as less resources were used chasing debt, making “more money… available to support our vital services."

Councillor Jane Murphy, Deputy Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, added, “We want to do all we can to help our residents stay on top of their council tax payments, and offering them more ways to manage and pay their bills online is having a clear impact."

Five Councils Partnership Director Kate Fitzsimons, of Capita Local Government, meanwhile emphasised the accessibility of the new payment systems, stating, “Online revenue services are becoming increasingly effective ways for district councils to encourage payments, protect vulnerable residents from falling behind on payments, and recouping as much funding for frontline services as possible. We have seen a very encouraging take-up of these services for Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire and will continue to encourage greater use of our online portals and management systems.”

Capita is involved in multiple projects with local authorities to improve operations and digital capacities. Last year the firm notably saw its 15 year relationship with the South Wales Police extended. The addition of the firm’s ControlWorks technology to the local police service’s control room sought to improve response times by managing a range of decisions automatically while providing a single viewpoint from which to manage operations.