success story/North Hertfordshire District Council

Modernising Council Tax services


Managing diminishing resources and overcoming a 6-week backlog by automating 75% of online transactions.

North-Hertfordshire-logo-white
Key objectives & outcomes

1.

£797k additional revenue collected

2.

£157k debt reduced within a year

3.

75% online transactions fully automated

4.

6-week backlog reduced to 2 days

Brief


Like every other council over the last decade, North Hertfordshire had already faced challenging times with customers expecting more, council funding slashed and technology advancing at pace. Partly because of new housing build, workload in the Revenues service began to rise just as senior members of staff chose to leave and were replaced by colleagues with much less experience. To keep on top of an increasing workload, the Revenues service needed to modernise itself to meet rising customer expectations, while finding ways to use its skills and resources more efficiently and effectively.

Digital transformation provided the solution.

About North Hertfordshire District Council
  • Services 133,570 residents
  • Located less than 40 miles North from central London
  • District formed in 1974, and made up of 24 wards
  • 94% of residents are satisfied with the area as a place to live

Solution


The council already had an online facility for customers to self-serve, but this service still relied on manual input from officers to complete online transactions. To exploit all the benefits of online self service, Geraldine Goodwin, Revenues Manager, selected Govtech’s webCAPTURE digital process automation service. Online transactions would now be automatically completed in the Revenues system unless the council’s own business rules triggered an intervention. Interventions would automatically be classified as High, Medium or Low priority items. At a stroke, it became possible for officers to deal only things which required their expertise and to target the right resources at the right problems.

Results


By using webCAPTURE, the council not only saw significant financial benefits, but also a cultural change and improved customer service. Change can be difficult in local government, and the hardest part was getting staff on board.

LH-quote-mark

Staff can naturally worry that technology might take their jobs away. But by involving and engaging them, the outcome is that we’ve taken the mundane work away and given staff time to concentrate on the higher value work that automation can’t do, such as engagement with vulnerable customers.

Geraldine Goodwin, Revenues Manager

RH-quote-mark

With around 75% of online transactions fully automated, staff were able to spend more time on recovery and collection with an additional £797k collected over the previous year and arrears declining by £157k.

Officers in the team now have more generic skills, and greater variety to their work. Where there used to be a backlog of between 4-6 weeks in the ‘in-tray’, it's now typically a couple of days.

Trust in change

The Revenues service is critical to the council’s operation with responsibility for the billing, collection, recovery and enforcement of Council Tax and other debts. Even contemplating change can be daunting. But making the right changes is rewarding.

LH-quote-mark

I was apprehensive to start with, too. But the Govtech implementation team worked with us to build confidence and, in the end, I can honestly say it was the easiest, most successful IT project I’ve been involved with. Not only that, but the ongoing customer support has been fantastic.

Geraldine Goodwin, Revenues Manager

RH-quote-mark
highlights
Collect-revenue-1

£797,000

additional revenue collected

Increasing-volume

£157,000

debt reduced within a year

Automation

75%

online transactions fully automated

Speed

6-week to 2 days

backlog reduced

Govtech-user

100%

staff up-skilled and cross-skilled

Customer-centric-approach

Happy customers

from improved customer service

Looking to the future

North Hertfordshire District Council are building on this success with plans to encourage more self-service and to carry out a Single Person Discount Review using another Govtech digital process automation service.

LH-quote-mark

Despite losing experience from the team, we have collected more money, arrears have declined, we have better customer service and staff are happier. Govtech is a smarter way to work

Geraldine Goodwin, Revenues Manager

RH-quote-mark

All standout digital transformation success stories begin somewhere...

No matter what your starting point is, get in touch and our team will arrange an informal conversation to understand what improvements you want to make and why, explore ways digital process automation may be able to assist and, if you need it, provide help to write a business case based on achieving those goals.