When lockdown saw Cardiff’s business rates team prioritising grant payments over rates collection, we stepped in to boost capacity and help bust the backlog.
Almost overnight, Cardiff Council’s business rates team had to shift focus from collecting rates to administering business grant applications. It posed all sorts of challenges for their six-strong team, as Revenue Services Manager Gary Watkins explains:
“The introduction of the grants during lockdown gave businesses much-needed financial support, but it also generated a vast amount of queries and applications. Annual Billing is already our busiest period, and we were soon managing a six-fold increase in our workload and the cases were building up.”
Gary asked us to step in and help reduce the backlog, and within just a few weeks they were up and running.
“NEC worked seamlessly alongside our team for four months, processing more than three thousand cases. It gave us the space we needed to manage the most complex work.”
As long-standing users of NEC Revenues & Benefits, the council turned to us rather than agency staff. Gary explains: “We’ve used temporary staff in the past, but training would have been so much harder with everyone working at home. We knew NEC had the right expertise as well as software, so they were the best option to keep us on track.”
Two NEC team members and a supervisor got up to speed quickly, helping the council to:
Gary was able to step back from weekly meetings once the team was off and running. Then, as the backlog reduced, was able to cut the amount of support down to one full-time equivalent.
When the Welsh Government introduced a new tranche of business support grants from October 2020, Gary asked us to provide one full-time equivalent for a period of three months.
“I needed an efficient solution fast, and with NEC that’s exactly what I got.”