The company will provide a new digital platform for revenues and benefits via its OPENRevenues software. This will help the Council deliver better outcomes for citizens through integrated document management and workflow and simplified services.
Local authorities are under ever-increasing pressure during COVID-19 with changing legislation and increased customer contact. The new platform will help support ongoing changes predicted in grant payments and benefit services into 2021.
The move to digital services is a major priority for the Council, especially due to demands to go paperless during the pandemic. The new system will play an important role in helping residents self-serve online via the new customer portal, with fast and easy access to all their information and claim updates in one place.
Oxford’s Revenues and Benefits contact centre team received more than 56,000 calls in 2019/20, with a caseload of almost 15,000. During that period, the department paid out an estimated £42m in Housing Benefit and £11.9m as part of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, while collecting £96m in Council Tax and £108m in Non-Domestic Rates.
OPENRevenues will also benefit employees by removing mundane tasks and allowing them to focus on increased support for customers. This supports the Council’s ethos to provide increasingly modernised and automated systems for employees.
Cllr Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services at Oxford City Council, said: “Operating an efficient and effective and modern revenue and benefits system is crucial, and never more so than during these difficult times. Oxford City Council is looking forward to working with Civica to further improve the services we provide for our residents and businesses as well as improving staff efficiency by removing time-consuming tasks.”
Rachel Brier, Divisional Managing Director, Local Government, Revenues & Benefits, Civica added: “With Councils under pressure to deliver improved online services to customers, we’re delighted to partner with Oxford City Council on our OPENRevenues platform. The new system will speed up case resolution for the Council through improved workflow management and increased digital inclusion for residents.”
More than 70 local authorities use the cloud enabled OPENRevenues software to streamline administration of tax and benefits. From front-line customer contact and service delivery through to back-office administration, OPENRevenues reduces administration costs while improving citizen engagement. 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.
Civica is one of the UK’s largest software companies, with over 30 years of proven expertise in delivering improved outcomes for public services around the world.