10 (10) LOCAL TAXATION AND BENEFITS – SHARED SERVICES WITH NORTH EAST LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL – The Director of Finance submitted a report seeking approval for a Shared Service project with North - East Lincolnshire for the delivery of Local Taxation and Benefits services and to advise of the potential joint cash savings of £1.27m from 2012/13 to 2014/15 with a potential staff reduction across both councils of 21.4 fte posts.
It was explained that North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) and North-East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) proposed to join together their respective Local Taxation and Benefits services under a shared service agreement. A business case had been produced which outlined the drivers for the project, the strategic fit between the two authorities, options appraisal, the associated costs and the anticipated benefits of delivering the project.
In NLC the Local Taxation and Benefits section was part of the Finance Service and based wholly at Hewson House, Brigg plus a number of homeworkers. Council Tax and Benefits telephone enquiries were dealt with by Local Taxation and Benefits Customer Services staff, although from July 2011 they were transferred to a centralised corporate call centre as part of the ‘Worksmart’ agenda. Face to face enquiries were dealt with by the council’s Local Link service.
In NELC Local Taxation and Benefits was part of Income and Payments services. Staff were based in Cleethorpes and Grimsby, plus a number of homeworkers. Local Taxation and Benefits telephone enquiries were dealt with by a corporate call centre, outside of the Income and Payments Services. Face to face contact with customers were delivered and managed at Customer Access Points.
The business case indicated how the benefits would be achieved by sharing Local Taxation and Benefits in NELC and NLC. It was considered that Shared Services with North East Lincolnshire Council was seen as a suitable means of delivering cost savings and a joint approach to the government’s change agenda in Benefits.
Service delivery options and resource implications were outlined within the report.
Resolved – That approval be given to implement the shared service arrangement between North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council for the provision of the Local Taxation and Benefits Service on the basis of Option 3 as set out within the report at paragraph 4.3.
Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.