Our award winning business ratepayer solution HUB, celebrates its fifth year with a range of new features that help keep rating records up-to-date and encourages more collaborative working between Local Authorities.
HUB is now used in over 100 English Local Authorities and consolidates all business rates data published by Councils to automatically find properties that are not entitled to Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR).
Preventing revenue leakage & identifying recoverable overpayments
As budgets continue to tighten for Local Authorities, it is important to have tools at your disposal which prevent unnecessary revenue leakage. HUB achieves this by ensuring incorrectly awarded reliefs and grants are identified, which can then be subsequently reclaimed. As an example, Tandridge Council identified a fraudulent SBRR claim dating back almost 10 years, which they have been able to cancel and issue a revised bill to the company in question for £16,000. Similar reports from other Councils have found recoverable overpayments valuing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Identifying dormant companies still listed as liable for business rates
The solution continues to go from strength to strength with the latest new feature added, which identifies a company’s status. At the click of a button, a Local Authority can now view all small businesses operating in their area and whether they are active, dormant or dissolved. The importance of this can be seen when a company is listed as dormant on Companies House, but the Local Authority still has them listed as liable to pay business rates. This helps Local Authorities to effectively update their ratepayer database and help their finance teams with budgeting, while also prompting investigation into identifying whether another business is now occupying that property.
The ability to instantly view a company’s status within the HUB system, also means that instances of company name changes can be readily identified, ensuring rating records are accurate for billing purposes. This is increasingly important as during COVID, business records were probably at their most accurate for the purposes of grant claims, but roll on three years and this is no longer the case. This is primarily down to there being less incentive and no real financial gain for businesses to keep Local Authorities informed of changes in circumstance.
Reminder of SBBR cases to be reviewed
Another new enhancement to the HUB solution is the issuing of case prompts. This means that alerts can be set up for a Local Authority for cases that have not been worked or reviewed within a specific time frame, meaning nothing slips through the cracks. Unless a record is updated within the system, a reminder can be sent to a nominated person or team within the Authority. This will present a list of the cases that need to be looked at, if for example they have not been touched for over a month.
Collaborative working between all Authorities to identify SBRR Fraud
Perhaps one of the most exciting new additions to the HUB solution is the ability to now automatically verify with another Local Authority, whether a ratepayer is still in occupation in a secondary property in their district. This can all be done within the HUB system using an inbuilt workflow system to send an automatic email to a nominated person or team within the relevant Council. Upon opening the email, the user is presented with a form with pre-populated questions that require completion such as;
- is the ratepayer liable for NNDR at this address in your Authority?
- are they currently in receipt of SBRR in your area?
- if so, from what date did the SBRR commence?
This is one of the first solutions of its kind to proactively encourage inter-authority collaboration and communication, all from within the system itself, saving on administrative and resource time. It is a more efficient and less labour intensive way of verifying with neighbouring Local Authorities, whether a suspected case of SBRR fraud is indeed valid.
To find out more about these new features and activating them, contact us now for further details.
Not a HUB Customer?
If you are not an existing HUB customer but want to benefit from some of the free features it can provide at no cost to your Local Authority, contact us now for further details >