Between 11th March and 17th April 2020, the Government announced a series of six measures to support businesses and Council Tax payers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local authorities needed to respond rapidly to these changes in legislation to ensure local businesses and vulnerable citizens were protected.
For the two largest measures, Business Rates Grant fund and Council Tax Hardship fund, we quickly created software solutions, which were presented to local authorities for their input and feedback through a series of webinars.
Business Rates Grant Fund module – an end-to-end automated solution that identifies qualifying businesses and creates the grant on their account. Where bank details are known, the payment is made automatically. If they aren’t known then the solution prompts the user to submit an online form. The payment is then made when form is submitted.
Seventeen days after the software release Civica customers had paid more than £830m supporting their local businesses. To date, our software has supported 43 OPENRevenues customers to provide over £1.6bn in critical Business Rates Grants. In terms of performance, over 70% of our customers are paying out a higher percentage of their grant than the national average.
Council Tax Hardship Fund – this module enables the reduction of bills by up to a further £150 for working age Council Tax support recipients. Processing the entire caseload in minutes means local authorities are helping those vulnerable people who need it fast.