Councils Can Trace 'Thousands Owed And Falsely Claimed,' Says Vendor

Mar 24, 2016

Destin Solutions Limited has announced the launch of a new range of services designed to help councils close in on debt and fraudulent activity.

Working with business insights expert Equifax, Destin Solutions can extract relevant datasets from council debt systems using its VISION reporting tool and then check them against a number of Equifax data matching and analysis tools.

New services out of this combination include a way to help identify where properties have become recently occupied and are subject to Council Tax collection. Typically a mid-sized Council will have circa 3,000 properties listed as unoccupied at any one time but this changes on a daily basis. This service helps councils proactively keep on top of their empty properties list and quickly identify new revenue opportunities.

The service identifies where more than one adult is resident in a property to help eliminate false and incorrect claims, which in 2014 cost authorities £39m in England alone. Local Authority debt write-offs is another big area for focus, as Town Halls cope with ever dwindling budgets and reduced government grants, increasing emphasis is put on chasing outstanding debt and arrears. 

The VISION Trace Service will help councils trace debtors when they have left a property and provided no forwarding address. It works by taking debtor data and running it through a number of Equifax data checks and queries to identify where that person is now living.

Julie Smethurst, Revenues Manager at on early user of the service, Preston and Lancaster Shared Service, commented “Over 1,600 properties were checked across Preston and Lancaster, and in Preston 24% of the properties which were reviewed and earmarked for a physical visit were found to be occupied and 16% of those visited in Lancaster were occupied.

"This has generated additional revenue for both authorities, and in the cases where it has brought long term properties back into use they also qualify for a ‘new homes bonus’ resulting in additional income for each authority.”  

'False Or Incorrect Claims'

Nicola Herrick, Account Director, Public Sector at Equifax, commented “By using our data matching and analysis tools, Destin Solutions helps councils tackle false or incorrect claims and get back what is rightfully owed to them.

"Destin’s VISION tool sorts and consolidates debtor and property information, for example by identifying all current properties listed as empty. When this data is then checked using Equifax’s proprietary technology, councils can quickly and easily identify which properties are likely to be occupied and add these properties to the Council Tax collections database.”

Additional services are also scheduled to be developed over time focusing on individual credit checks for specific council debtors and commercial credit checks for Business Rate Payers, say the pair. 

(c) 2016 24n.biz

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