A Single Person Discount review adds £342,000 to Durham County Council's coffers

20th July 2017

Removing unjustified SPDs helps maximise the council's annual income

Durham County Council has around a quarter of a million Council Tax properties, with about a third eligible for Single Person Discount (SPD). In order to offset budget cuts and protect the public purse, the Council carries out an SPD review every couple of years.

The Council turned to Civica to carry out an SPD review. Because Civica was already supporting Durham on Council Tax, a full procurement exercise wasn't needed, which helped the project get underway sooner.

"Our experience had shown us the Civica's people were capable," says Cate Blackburn, Assessment and Awards Manager. "And Civica's risk-and-reward-based offer was very reasonable. In fact, I doubt we could have done the work in house at the same cost, even if we'd had the resources available."

Civica's OnDemand team provides public sector organisations with experienced staff who can help deliver front-line services to meet short- or long-term requirements. "Civica OnDemand has an SPD team all set up and ready to go, staffed by former revenue officers," says Cate. "That boosted our confidence that they knew exactly what they were doing."

Benefits delivered to Durham by our OnDemand SPD service include:

    • Efficient detection and removal of incorrect SPD claims by targeting high-risk accounts
    • Additional revenue of £342,000 generated by removing 1,438 SPDs, 3.15% of the total
    • Risk-and-reward commercial model — no financial risk to the council
    • End-to-end management of the SPD review by Civica, ensuring no additional burden or follow-up work for council teams

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Cate Blackburn,

Assessment and Awards Manager,

Durham County Council

The SPD review was a worthwhile exercise: we generated income of £342,000 after payment of Civica's fees. That's great news for the council, given that we're subject to more funding cuts every year.