Managing revenues and benefits

Like the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow, many councils dealing with revenues and benefits crave a better system for processing customer data.

Good news! The end of that rainbow could be closer than you think. A small group of councils has set out to discover if it’s possible to create an IT system that is easily configurable and cost-effective for local authorities. Now we need your help in the fact-finding phase.

Any system for handling revenues and benefits carries significant costs. We suspect that, like us, many councils find their existing system is becoming clunky and in serious need of improved speed and flexibility.

So we decided to explore if it’s feasible to develop a bespoke solution. Luckily, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government liked our idea, so we’ve secured £70,000 for the exploratory phase of the project, to be overseen by government’s Local Digital Service.

We have set out to discover if it’s possible to create a cost-effective IT system for local authorities

With five other councils, we’ve embarked on a ‘digital discovery’ project to check the viability of creating a customer-focused, configurable and cost-effective modern IT system for processing revenues and benefits data.

Three Devon councils – Exeter City, East Devon and Teignbridge – will be working alongside Basildon Council and Brentwood Council, in Essex, and Sedgemoor Council in Somerset, and with Strata Service Solutions. The latter manages the technology needs of the three Devon councils and will bring specialist IT knowledge to the project.

Consortium members comprise a geographical spread of communities, a mix of demographics, and a cross-section of local authority data-handling and technological expertise. Much of the funding will pay for a consultant to research councils’ experiences of existing systems.

Our work will include user research, theory testing and customer experience mapping – and that’s where you come

in. We want to hear from as many councils as possible about their current system, where it falls short, and what their ideal bespoke solution would look like.

We aim to deliver our initial findings by late March 2020.


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