Cherwell District Council has achieved a further £20,000 worth of efficiency savings, just one year after signing a five year contract with Capita*.
The contract, for the administration of housing and council tax benefits claims
has seen the time taken to process new claims more than halve from
44 to 17 days. The overall processing time for all claims has also reduced from 14 days to nine.
Councillor Ken Atack, lead member for financial management at Cherwell District Council, commented: “The decision to appoint Capita has proven to be a good one.
“We are experiencing a greater need for benefits at a time when our income has decreased. Not only is our contract with Capita helping us meet this need, but it has also continued to deliver cashable savings.”
The savings have been achieved through a number of business process improvement projects, including converting the payments and refunds systems from cheque to BACS, which is more secure and time-efficient.
Karen Curtin, head of finance at Cherwell District Council, commented: “We took the decision to partner with Capita after a value for money review in 2008 found the service was costing more to run than we were receiving in Government grants. As a result of the outsourcing we have reduced our costs annually by 20%.”
Mark Chapman, business director, Capita’s Local Government Services business, commented: "By partnering with Cherwell we have enabled the Council to continue to deliver a valuable service on a greater scale. Going forward we are looking into more business transformation projects to further streamline services and deliver more savings."
Cherwell District Council recently also selected Capita's software services division to provide a range of payment management solutions. The solutions are PA-DSS (Payment Application Data Security Standard) and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) accredited and will improve the security of cardholder details for the end user, in this case, Cherwell’s citizens.
They include a secure managed service that means the council no longer needs to host on-site specialist card processing software, hardware or infrastructure. They also remove the accompanying costs of licensing, space, insurance and carbon footprint overheads. All of these factors will help the council realise healthy annual savings.
*Cherwell District Council signed a five year contract with Capita in 2010, worth some £3 million. The contract is for the administration of housing and council tax benefits claims.