London Borough of Ealing: Council Tax Single Person Discount

The London Borough of Ealing commenced work to further enhance the proven functionality of ‘SNAP’ software to deliver the agreed savings for Ealing and the joint partners. The scope of the project was to revise and develop the existing software in order that it could be deployed within Ealing for their use and for the use of other council partners in order to maximize fraud detection; provide early identification of vulnerable families; and maximize electoral registration.


Issues, challenges and barriers

  • Difficulty in gaining the necessary technical expertise on-board to implement the data requirements/solution.
  • Difficulty in gaining access to the relevant sources of information with the best data, a lot of confusion over who had the rights to access the relevant data and for what purpose.
  • Once a solution once up and running, it has been a slow process to educate internal stakeholders on the opportunities presented by cleansed, quality data, with good providence, and how to use it to identify cost savings, cost avoidance in the council.

Outputs and outcomes

  • Weekly updates from source systems to verify Council Tax Single Person Discount Provision (SPD)
  • Initial 2,500 investigable cases were discovered
  • Monthly standard process approximately about 200 new cases are passed to the service
  • Around 10 per cent result in SPD cancellation
    • Freedom Passes – data matching exercise, identifying fraudulent, duplicate or out of date passes
    • Potential discrepancy of £87K being followed up
    • Hounslow – shared the output for Single Person Discount
    • Elections – provided extracts from five data sources on a regular basis
  • Some monthly gains made in terms of cleaning the electoral register
  • Now cleaning main source systems to realise further efficiencies
    • Troubled Families – Gone live with Social Care for feedback
    • Schools Admissions work defined, scoped delivered
  • Business as Usual (BAU) process twice yearly to clean addresses to avoid school placement offer fraud
    • Setting up a Master Data Management repository to underpin client investigations
  • Re-use of MDM repository in additional external anti-fraud applications
  • Additionally being used to clean CRM for digital transformation
  • Empty Homes Initiative - side benefit is to use same methods to avoid homes in the borough being left empty

Impact

Following the delivery of the proof of concept fraud reports from the vendor Visionware, the Revenues Team indicated a £769,000 actionable fraud figures for Single Person Discount subject to caveats, such as more representative data with weekly updates. This was a good return for historical date of nine months in 2016 utilising five data sources.

Initial proof of concept for freedom passes, in identifying fraudulent, duplicate an out of date freedom passes, yielded £590,400 savings.

Efficiency savings of £46,846 per annum for the schools team in reducing time taken to identify fraudulent school applications.

Size of Grant

£746,000, with savings of £161,000 identified in the years 2015/16 and 2016/17, yielding a RoI of 0.22. However significant savings have been identified since, totalling over £1.4m as analysed above.

Contact details

Peter Greenham, Digital Innovation and Business Manager, London Borough of Ealing, greenhamp@ealing.gov.uk