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A North West Metropolitan Borough Council

Public Sector SPD

Background

A North West Metropolitan Borough Council covering an area of 62 square miles which was aware that it was the subject of council tax fraud recognised the need to clamp down on the issue.

The Council is responsible for collecting council tax for the 110,000 homes in the borough of which some are eligible for council tax discounts, single person discounts (SPD).  Part of this work is to identify those that have fraudulently applied for a discount (Average claim value £250 per person) and who should be paying the full council tax premium for their property in that area.

Although only a small proportion of the population falsely claim SPD it is important that these cases are identified and removed.

Challenges

  • To detect the level fraud amongst the existing 28,000 households claiming SPD
  • To identify the additional people living in these exempt homes
  • Gauge the confidence of the fraud existing for each case identified

The Solution

Callcredit's ThreeSixty Council Tax View* was deemed the best option as it helps to quickly assess existing discount claimants for eligibility, as part of an annual or continuous review.

As part of the process Callcredit;

  • named the current occupiers of the properties
    provided move-in dates and confirmed any relationships linked to the council tax payer
  • Callcredit corroborated the residency using a combination of electoral roll, public and financial data

Callcredit used some intelligent business logic to determine the confidence level of each fraud case and separated them into Red or Amber.  Callcredit then advised on a suitable contact strategy for each case.

All the information was then provided to the Council in an easy-to-use electronic case file based on one pdf per case.

Results

Out of the existing 28,000 individuals claiming SPD Callcredit identified 804 potentially fraudulent cases.

Of the 804 cases Callcredit was then able to categorise these further to help the Council progress with the right course of action.

  • 399 red cases (confirmed as fraudulent claims) Discounts were automatically cancelled and a letter sent to notify the claimant
  • 405 amber cases (suspected fraud confirmed) A letter was sent to notify the claimant that unless otherwise informed the discount would be cancelled in 30 days
  • 394 red cases and 202 amber cases were officially cancelled totalling 596 claims
  • Total additional income recovered of £149,000

Callcredit said: "Monitoring the appropriate number of individuals claiming council tax exemptions is important to all councils.  Those falsely claiming exemptions such as single person discount are depriving government of revenue that could and should be reinvested into vital public services."

*Our new product ThreeSixty Connections Revenues offers the same great service as ThreeSixty Council Tax View but is updated on a monthly basis.

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