As events unfold, local authorities are facing unprecedented pressure to deliver vital services in the most difficult of circumstances.

This is exacerbated by the need to stand up new operations to support local communities through the crisis.

With financial pressures and national welfare a priority, we offer experienced people and the latest technology to build resilience for the times ahead.

From additional expert resource to support the processing of business rate relief grants, to automation and remote technology solutions which safeguard council colleagues continuing to deliver critical services, here’s how we can help.

Distributing public funds fast

Ensuring public funds reach those in need is always important, but particularly so when supporting communities through the current crisis.

With over a decade of experience of grant operations, including for business rates relief and disbursing over £14 billion of public funds every year, we’re uniquely placed to help councils support businesses during these difficult times.

Our flexible grant resilience service, available immediately as a one-off or on a longer-term basis, boosts benefits teams with additional expert resource for processing business rate relief at a time of increased demand and reduced capacity.

We’re already providing over 14,000 hours of resilience services every month to local councils with our 2,600 highly experienced and skilled benefits claims assessors handling all administration, from the initial customer contact to assessment, payment, recovery and appeals.

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Managing citizen demand

Out of hours customer service representative

The current health crisis is particularly challenging for local authorities facing a surge in enquiries against the backdrop of fewer staff being available.

We can help to widen your reach and improve efficiency with our proven customer management and technology solutions.

Our customer service teams are helping to support and reassure communities by easing the pressure on contact centres whilst our empathetic emergency out of hours agents are on hand 24 hours a day to ensure vulnerable citizens receive assistance when they need it most. 

We’re using the latest technologies to bring services closer to citizens whilst relieving the pressure on teams. Our proven customer advisory bot can be set up quickly as a first line of response, with AI services helping to structure the way information is provided, including for benefits and business rate grants. Our online applications for benefits are allowing people to self-serve to apply for the support they need, helping to reduce the pressure and improve the experience of citizens accessing those services.  

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Strengthening services with responsive, resilient resourcing

As local authorities get to grips with accommodating increased demand from citizens, they’re having to deploy teams and resources quickly and efficiently. 

We’re helping councils to overcome those resourcing challenges by providing flexible, dedicated remote support and processing teams to ensure immediate continuity for a range of services, including processing benefits and business rate grants. 

We’re also delivering emergency and overflow customer service support to provide vital assistance to vulnerable people and we’re filling skills gaps to strengthen existing teams, including experts in customer services, revenues and benefits, technology, planning and building control.  We can rapidly screen and onboard new staff, as we’ve done recently for organisations needing to recruit at scale as a result of experiencing surges in demand.

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Using technology to ease workloads and improve outcomes

Person using chatbot

Many local authorities are turning to automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable them to deliver essential public services.

Our established AI-driven applications are already supporting customer management in local councils, offering powerful, robust solutions to meet the challenges of social distancing and fewer available staff due to self-isolation or illness.

Our customer advisory bot relieves the pressure from increased contact, transforming the way people engage with your council. Easy to set up and even easier for citizens to access, it provides a fast, accurate and personalised response for benefits and business rate queries, with the query only referred on to an employee if needed.

Our Robotic process automation (RPA) solution mirrors human actions in software applications to remove the need to input data from other sources. We’re also supporting local authorities with other forms of automation, including making it easier to assess a large number of benefits applications by cutting down the usual workload of manual checking and processing, freeing staff to focus on more complex claims.

Our market-leading software for education and children’s services, and for revenues and benefits is available in the cloud – this allows employees to work securely from home whilst bringing together data to improve processing and decision times and, ultimately, improve citizen experience. We also offer a feature-rich, flexible housing management system, including live video-streaming technology to support incident management and situational awareness in response to residents’ queries.

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“The benefit resilience services team always delivers on time and to high standards and the responsiveness and reactiveness to help us through unexpected peaks in demand is really impressive. This ensures we always deliver an exceptional service to our citizens.” Tim Hillman-Brown , Head of Revenue and Benefits at Lambeth Council

How can we help you through this time?