This project, led by Teignbridge District Council, kicked off a 12-week alpha in February 2022.
Revenue and Benefits systems are one of the key digital systems for all local authorities; processing payments to local businesses, council tax payers and hundreds of low income households on a weekly basis. Every council in the country is required to process Revenue and Benefits data, either in-house or using an outsourced model.
Following a discovery in Spring 2021 – which explored if there is a need to build a new IT platform for local government, and how it might be done – the project is using the alpha to:
- address the user needs identified during the discovery
- develop a minimum viable product (MVP) to help Teignbridge identify other local authorities who might benefit from this service
The discovery phase revealed that there was major dissatisfaction with the existing market offering for revenues and benefits systems, but at the same time, there was a sense of unease about switching to alternatives. This is due to the critical nature of these systems in managing the income for councils, as well as paying out vital benefits to residents
Sedgemoor District Council have been operating their own, in-house, revenues and benefits system since the 1990s, and have started a project to develop an entirely new version that is cloud-native, open and flexible. The potential for the sector is huge if this system can be made open source so as many councils can use and support it as possible.
We want to achieve three things:
- Technical: To successfully set up a working version of the Sedgemoor business rates system for at least one council, and to import the data from their existing systems into it. Also, to prove that common integrations are possible, both via batch and API.
- Governance: To recommend to arrange support and governance arrangements for the system were it to be published as open source software.
- User experience: To understand the needs of local businesses with regards to business rates, and identify any opportunities to provide a more joined-up experience with other council services.