Following a rigorous tender process, Central Bedfordshire Council have appointed Destin Solutions as their single source supplier to provide credit reference and business intelligence data to assist with debt recovery from residents and businesses. Destin Solutions have developed an all-encompassing solution, following their recent joint venture with Ascendant Solutions.
Believed to be the first of its kind in the market to be offered by a single supplier, the solution incorporates rolling single person discounts reviews, rolling empty property reviews, commercial insights on NNDR, customer trace and customer financial insights. Historically Councils have had to work with a number of different suppliers to tackle each area, meaning more administrative effort, more complexity in the procurement process and more investment in resource to manage relationships and monitor performance.
Gary Muskett, Head of Revenues and Benefits at Central Bedfordshire Council commented “We feel we will get an enhanced service and the continuity that comes with working with one supplier. Every authority does things differently and with each new supplier you have to go through that learning process with them, which can be labour intensive. Condensing a project down into something that can be delivered by one supplier also has a positive impact from a technical and data protection perspective, effectively reducing the need for setting up different secure methods of transferring and encrypting data. Working with Destin Solutions who will be running multiple services for us, we feel a lot can be learned from the synergies between the different work streams which should become self evident. Longer term we expect to be able to build up a history of our caseload, which will help us predict future risk profiles of our residents and business so we can start to become more proactive in targeting debt and discount fraud.”
The primary objective of the solution is to help protect and grow the tax base, ensuring all discounts awarded to residents are correct, empty homes are reviewed on an ongoing basis as well as delivering rich financial data about debtors so more informed decisions can be made on the best recovery remedy to use. It also aims to improve business rates collections, by providing trading information and financial status updates on local businesses. Using daily alerts, scorecards and in-built workflow systems will enable the Authority to be more proactive on collections. Gary comments “at present we have no real insight or business intelligence about our business rate payers or their propensity to pay. Similarly, we don’t have one consolidated view of Council Tax debtors or an individual scorecard that provides a graded indicator of a resident’s ability to pay, this solution will change that. With responsibility for collecting over a quarter of a billion in revenues annually, we need to have better intelligence on our residents and businesses.”
Darren Kelk, Director of the joint venture Ascendant Destin Solutions Limited adds “We are delighted to be working with Central Bedfordshire Council and that they have chosen to use our data intelligence platform, Ascendant. Being able to consolidate multiple data sets into one single secure portal and cross reference them with additional intelligence will help them streamline and boost revenue collections whilst better balancing the budget in future.”
When asked about the technology solution itself, Gary commented “we liked the look of the Destin Solutions software, we can use it to interrogate our own data more effectively, it is user friendly and has the potential to be developed further. Destin Solutions offer the personal touch and we can see opportunities where it can be extended out to other areas within the council, providing a truly single view.”
Gary concludes “this is an exciting new project for us, we feel that we have a supplier who will work with us to give us what we are looking for. There is nothing else on the market like this offering, it’s innovative and we will finally have a solution that pulls many different revenues services together.”