Birmingham City Council has used our revenues and benefits software for many years, but the service had been delivered by a third party. When Birmingham took it back in house in 2017 they identified some early opportunities for improvement.
Assistant director of revenues, benefits and rents Tim Savill explains:
“When I joined in 2017, I could see we weren’t making the most of the software. We also hadn’t started eBilling. With 450,000 Council Tax properties and 47,000 rateable businesses, we had to work more efficiently to deliver better revenues services.”
First up, they used our remote service for council tax processing to create some capacity
while they built their new team. Then they started to use extra software modules to make their recovery processes more efficient, like for Special Payment Arrangements
Finally, they opted for Citizen Access so they could introduce eBilling and offer 24/7 customer support. That went live for Revenues in 2018. Over a million self-service revenues transactions later, and Birmingham estimates roughly 5.5 FTEs have been freed up to complete more complicated work for the council
“We’ve got more than 100 people in Revenues alone, and we’re facing big challenges. Having the right partner is key, and that’s what we’ve got in NEC.”
In 2020, the impact of COVID-19 caused demand to surge and placed enormous pressure on revenues and benefits departments. Our work made a big difference to how Tim’s team faced that challenge:
“Being able to use Citizen Access for Social Isolation Payments as well as Revenues helped us hugely. We took around 15,000 applications online in the space of eight months. We’ve also got 36,000 people signed up for eBilling so far and we’re targeting 30,000 more in the next phase.”
With Citizen Access working well in Revenues they’re now rolling it out for Benefits and Landlords. People can access the software through their existing council accounts so it’s really easy to use. Our remote processing service will help them too, supporting them as they ease back into recovery work and away from business grant processing.
“Working with NEC doesn’t feel like you’ve got two separate teams. Our customers can’t tell the difference and it feels to us like a genuine partnership.”