Hounslow council extends revenue and benefits deal

Hounslow Council says its two-year £9.5 million contract extension with Liberata will see the firm automate more processes and introduce more options for citizens to self-serve.

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Hounslow Council has paid £9.5 million to extend its contract with business processing firm Liberata for revenue collection and benefit assessment services.

The council promised to “digitally transform” the services by automating more processes and introducing options for citizens to self-serve. It said this will deliver “significant cost savings to the borough over the next 30 months”.

For example, the manual and resource-heavy task of assessing benefit claims will be automated, and citizens will be given the option to pay tax bills and amend personal details online, it said in a statement.

Liberata was appointed in 2005 for a ten-year deal, now extended until 2017. It said the firm has helped to save £24 million since then via measures like improving debt profiling and collecting historic arrears.

The company has a number of UK public sector customers including the Ministry of Justice and councils in Bromley, Barrow, North Somerset and Pendle.

The London Borough of Harrow is responsible for almost 300,000 residents and is one of only three local authorities in the UK to have kept the same council tax rate since 2006.

“The extension of the contract will streamline administrative services so we can save money for council taxpayers and free up funds for our priorities such as schools and care for older people,” said councillor Theo Dennison, cabinet member for finance and citizen engagement.

In 2013 Hounslow signed a deal with Salesforce via the G-Cloud framework to replace 300 applications with a single cloud collaboration platform for staff and citizens, which it claims saved £600,000 in its first year of operation.

The council is currently on the hunt for a new CIO to replace Anthony Kemp, who left in October 2014 to set up a company called ‘CoSector’. John Gladman, previously head of ICT at Croydon Council, is currently filling the post on an interim basis.