17th September 2020
Cotswold District Council partners with Civica for new shared service revenues and benefits platform
Civica delivers new citizen-centric solution to Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, and West Oxfordshire District Council, in five-year contract worth £975,000
Civica, a global leader in software for public services, has announced a new shared service agreement with Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, and West Oxfordshire District Council via the shared public company, Publica.
The company will provide a digital platform for revenues and benefits via its OPENRevenues solution, enabling the Councils to deliver better outcomes for citizens through shared and streamlined services.
The new system will be implemented by Publica across all three Councils and will play an important role in helping residents self-serve online. It will offer citizens clearer visibility over their information, especially important at a time when many Council offices are closed, and digital communications have become even more vital.
Publica is a Council-owned company which delivers shared services to Cotswold, West Oxfordshire, and Forest of Dean District Councils. As an established partner of Civica, Forest of Dean Council has managed its council tax through Civica’s OPENRevenues software since 2010. Following the Council's decision to join the shared public company, Publica in 2018, it was decided efficiencies could be realised through one integrated system for all three Councils.
Through sharing services, the Councils are able to sustain and improve citizen services, support the shift to online and mobile access, and increase the ability for citizens to self-serve, whilst driving cost and efficiency savings. Civica’s OPENRevenues solution supports channel shift and integrated workflow, a capability which makes the company a market leader in shared service partnerships.
The new service will provide the combined local authorities with cost savings due to no longer running three separate revenues and benefits systems. It will also reduce the amount of time employees spend on administration and allow a focus on value-add, customer facing priorities. All relevant employees will have a holistic view of the system, streamlining processes across the three Councils.
Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance at Cotswold District Council said: “Many of our residents want easy ways to access their council tax and housing benefits without needing to call or visit our offices. Our partnership with Civica will help us deliver this for them as the self-service functionality means they can easily view everything online, making it convenient and quicker.
“We’re excited to see how online usage increases as residents start using the new service. We are also looking forward to the positive impact the solution will have on our employees - reducing the hours they must spend on administrative tasks.”
Rachel Brier, Divisional Managing Director, Local Government, Revenues & Benefits, Civica added: “Technology is at the heart of everything Publica and the three local authorities do, and they needed a solution which would provide their customers with more autonomy, while making processes easier for employees. The OPENRevenues solution will provide a more resilient system which will enable them to use their resources and time more effectively. We are delighted to be able to offer the shared service the cost savings and deliverables it needs to provide ongoing support to citizens and employees.”
More than 70 local authorities use the cloud enabled OPENRevenues software to streamline administration of council tax, non-domestic rates, housing benefits and council tax reduction, sundry debtors, welfare assistance, and pupil benefits. OPENRevenues spans online self-service, contact centre management, electronic documents, automated workflow, payments, telephone and mobile working. Following new government legislation to support communities following the Covid-19 outbreak, Civica rapidly enhanced its OPENRevenues system, enabling Councils to quickly deliver over £1.6bn in grants funding to support local businesses.