Gloucester City Council rethinks welfare processing model in seven-year service delivery partnership with Civica
Gloucester City Council rethinks welfare processing model in seven-year service delivery partnership with Civica

Gloucester City Council and Civica, a market leader in specialist systems and business process services that help organisations around the world to transform the way they work, have launched an innovative partnership to outsource the delivery of revenues, benefits and welfare rights services for the authority and deliver annual savings of £220,000.

The seven-year agreement between the council and Civica will see the partnership maintain and improve service delivery to local citizens while achieving financial savings. It is the first step in the creation of a centre of excellence in the city for local government revenues and benefits administration that will sustain local employment and bring new business to Gloucester through the provision of outsourced business process services to other local authorities around the UK.

The agreement is part of the wider process underway at Gloucester City Council to transform the authority’s approach to providing back office, transactional and corporate support services and to systematically deliver vital budget savings across all these operations.

By setting up the service centre with Civica, Gloucester City Council will benefit from a cost efficient service model with lower operating costs than retaining in-house provision. It provides the council with a stable platform to drive back office savings in administration as well as the ability to innovate and pilot new ways of working which will benefit the way it delivers services. In addition, it will safeguard employment and conditions for the 67-strong team and offer improved support and development for employees at a time when many authorities are having to reduce headcount to maintain core service levels.

To improve service delivery and efficiency, Civica will complement the skills and experience of the transferring Gloucester City Council teams with its own expertise in IT-enabled business process improvement. The combination will enable the partners to introduce new processes and IT-based innovations as part of daily operations while driving down processing costs and in future securing increased economies of scale.

Civica, which is a supplier to more than 90% of the UK’s local authorities, provides IT systems and business process expertise to 175 local government revenues and benefits departments. As a strong and stable partner, the company is able to build a specialist and highly flexible service model that provides an alternative to both large scale ‘one size fits all’ outsourcing and local authority shared service models. Both these existing models can lack the flexibility and scalability to respond to the rapid and significant changes faced by councils or to accommodate additional work.

Councillor Debbie Llewellyn, Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources at Gloucester City Council, said: “This ground-breaking agreement provides the council with a means to improve, rather than cut, our services to citizens. The model harnesses our employees’ knowledge and experience with Civica’s service improvement know-how to meet local outcomes while achieving annual cost savings of £220,000. It’s very pleasing to be setting up a service centre with the potential to increase its contribution to the local economy and local jobs as time goes on.”

Simon Downing, chief executive of Civica, said: “We are delighted to be forming this partnership with Gloucester City. Together with delivering service assurance and savings for the council, it will establish a centre of excellence and innovation which we believe will become a model for revenues and benefits administration.”