Council Tax - About The Service

Revenues and Benefits

Service overview

Responsible for the administration of: Council Tax, Water Charges; Housing Benefit; Scottish Welfare Fund (community care and crisis grants); School Clothing Grants & Free School Meals; Educational Maintenance Allowances (EMA); Non-domestic Rates; Debt recovery for council tax, rates, sundry accounts; and council tenants house contents insurance scheme.

Provides customer service for the above, including face to face, telephone and electronic contact.

The administration of council tax, non-domestic rates and the Scottish Welfare Fund is determined by legislation and guidance from the Scottish Government.

The administration of housing benefit is determined by legislation and guidance from Department for Works and Pensions and is going through significant change as a result of welfare reform.

40,000 council tax payers, 4,900 rate payers, 6,800 housing benefit claimants, 1,150 clothing grants paid, 1750 free school meals, 150 EMA’s, 520 insurance accounts, 3750 applications for the Scottish Welfare Fund grants.

Bills and collects income of £112m and pays out £25m in benefits and grants.

Performance

Collects 97.4% of council tax in year at a cost of £8.12 per dwelling, compared to the Scottish average of 95.4% and £13.39.  Year-on-year high collections rates ensures maximum resources available to provide council services.

Collects 98.1% of non-domestic rates.

Processes new housing benefit claim in 14 days and changes in 4 days on average. This result makes the service the top performer for processing times ensuring lower income households are able to pay their rent and sustain their tenancies.

Continuous Improvement

In March 2014 the service launched on-line access for customers to their council tax account and housing benefit claim. Customers can set up direct debit instructions, make payments, notify address changes, and view their bills and correspondence on-line.

Where authorised by claimants, landlords can access on-line housing benefit payment details of their tenants and receive notifications electronically.  This assists social landlords in their efficiency improvements and significantly reduces enquiries.

Where information is submitted on-line, there is a direct link into the operational systems which eliminates the re-keying of data, thus making the service more efficient.

Customers who sign up to on-line billing assist the council in reducing paper, printing and postage costs.

Applications to the Scottish Welfare Fund can also be made on-line.

The service is aiming to increase take up of the on-line service to ensure that efficiencies are maximised.

The service is taking part in benchmarking with other council of a similar size to share best practice and learn from each other.

How the public can get involved

If you have any comments or suggestions on the information we include in our performance pages, or any questions about our performance in general, please contact the Revenues and Benefits Team or telephone 01786 233210.

Further information…

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