Durham County Council announces Single Person Discount review

8 January 2013

Durham County Council has asked Northgate Public Services to carry out a review of its Single Person Discount claimants.

The review, which is due to begin in December 2012, will ensure the council’s records are up to date and that all people receiving the 25% council tax discount are genuinely entitled to it. It will also make sure that the council can fairly collect money which is meant for the public benefit.

Durham Country Council, commented: “We believe that most council tax discounts are claimed honestly and legitimately but there are times when a household’s circumstances change and people forget to tell us their eligibility to a discount should end. We’ve chosen to work with Northgate Public Services because we know they have an excellent track record of working in partnership with local authorities across the country and delivering results.”

Northgate Public Services will work closely with the council to review all existing claims for the 25% council tax discount with the aim of identifying any potentially fraudulent claims as efficiently and quickly as possible. It will compare details of properties where it is being claimed with information held on other databases to check if there is any suggestion that more than one person is living at the address.

Joe Bradley, Executive Director, Northgate Public Services, commented: “We know that SPD fraud is a huge problem costing councils around the UK about £2 billion a year. We have already carried out SPD reviews with councils across the country, helping them to save significant sums. We look forward to working with Durham County Council and helping them release savings they can reinvest into front line services.”

Letters will be issued to any properties where discrepancies are identified, along with pre-paid return envelopes, giving recipients the opportunity to confirm their circumstances or provide the council with an update if necessary. The review is due to conclude by March 2013.