By providing a multi-skilled team to support busy staff, NPS has helped Cheshire East Council to efficiently process increased volumes of work in council tax, business rates, housing benefit and council tax support.
At the end of 2019, the contract Revenues held for external processing was coming to an end. The service was already working at reduced capacity having lost two experienced and skilled workers who had chosen a different career path.
Following a successful tender exercise NPS were the preferred supplier to help Revenues and Benefits services strengthen their resilience by offering Cheshire East a team of already established and experienced workers.
With the initial meeting held early in March 2020, the NPS team first got to grips with the council’s complex policies and procedures. They then started processing council tax, housing benefit and council tax reduction documents from 6th April, once it became clear that lockdown would lead to a significant increase in claims.
“NPS provided expert support exactly where and when we needed it, helping us to deliver for our residents at a really challenging time”
NPS initially provided four full time equivalents (FTEs) for council tax and four for benefits. The flexibility of the service NPS offers meant that when volumes returned to manageable levels in other areas, four of the FTEs could switch to processing NNDR documents, including those relating to the new business grants.
Since July, NPS has successfully reduced a backlog of 2,000 requests to fewer than 150 – well in time for the closure of the grants – and were able to stand down. As of September 2020, six FTEs are now supporting the council tax area and Cheshire East can call on more support if needed.
In October 2019, 78% of documents were completed within ten days. Fast forward to October 2020 and with the assistance of NPS, Cheshire East’s council tax department is completing 92% of documents in the same time period.
Nova Pointon, Senior Service Development Officer, commented “We have developed a brilliant working relationship with NPS during a time of great uncertainty. It’s fantastic to have that partnership to fall back on whenever it’s needed”.
“Knowing the NPS team can dip in and out of different processes to provide us with targeted support is great. They’ve got to grips with our ‘localisms’ really quickly and I’ve been really impressed with the quality of their work.”
“By training the existing NPS team members in NNDR, our response was agile and allowed us to provide further support to our customer where they needed the help most. The project has worked brilliantly with the support of both the Cheshire East and NPS teams, as we are now able to navigate between Revenues, Benefits and NNDR work to suit our customer’s changing needs.”
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