Report suggests using more technology to make savings in revenue and benefits service at Lichfield District Council

More technology could be used to make savings in the way Lichfield District Council runs its revenues and benefits service.

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

The latest stage of the local authority’s Fit for the Future review has focused on areas such as:

  • Council tax and business rates billing.
  • Housing benefit assessment.
  • Deciding how much residents pay towards residential and non-residential care.

The review has also examined the revenue and benefits ‘front of house’ customer service.

Around £79,000 of savings hae already been found with the decision to cut two posts.

But another £21,000 needs to be found in order to meet the provisional target in the council’s ‘efficiency plan’.

A report to a meeting of Lichfield District Council’s overview and strategy committee meeting tonight (June 9) says more use of new online and phone options could benefit the service going forward.

“There is scope to make better use of technology to enable customers to access the revenue and benefits service at their convenience and also to enable them to make applications for services online,” the report explained.

“This would potentially reduce the number of calls by phone and in person to the team.

“There is also the potential to use technology to improve the efficiency of the service by automating manual tasks. A careful assessment would be needed to ensure that the costs of new IT are proportionate to the benefits achievable.”

One option which appears to be off the table is outsourcing the service.

The report explained: “A testing exercise has been undertaken and there is appetite within the private sector were the council to decide to outsource the revenue and benefits service.

“However, the review team concluded that, given the small size of the service and the fluidity of the welfare reform agenda, it would be preferable to retain control of the service in house.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.