Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council carries a cumulative Council Tax arrears debt of some £10m, a significant percentage of which relates to ‘won’t pays’ rather than ‘can’t pays’. Despite Regulation 36 of the Administration and Enforcement Legislation 1992 requiring that Council Tax payers provide their income and employment details to Councils following the issue of a liability order, many do not, resulting in many of those debts being referred to Enforcement Agents for collection, an action that incurs the Council Tax payer additional costs and the Council additional administration set against already stretched resources. The Digital Economy Act offers Councils a solution to this in that data can now be shared with HMRC to obtain the income information that the legislation entitles us to. Some of our neighbouring boroughs share this common problem and we have volunteered to become pilots in the data sharing project. The information that would be shared would better inform the Council of Council Tax customers’ ability to pay, open up engagement with those customers to better understand their situations so that appropriate settlements can be made, and also contribute to a reduction in Council budget deficits that have a detrimental effect on our ability to deliver effective services to our community.
The 5 councils propose to work together as part of this pilot to analyse this data and report the outcomes to the Cabinet Office, in turn sharing this with other Councils nationwide. The pilot period for this project will require one full-time manager from each of the 5 Councils together with 1 Data Controller to deliver these outcomes using Information Technology solutions and business analytics to provide the Cabinet Office with robust reporting.
- Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
- Digital and agile awareness
- Introduction to user research
- Introduction to delivery management