Liverpool Direct saves £3m a year with Civica system

A benefits system that saw customers waiting for 130 days for a claim decision has slashed processing times to ten days with a new information management system, saving £3m a year.

A benefits system that saw customers waiting for 130 days for a claim decision has slashed processing times to ten days with a new information management system, saving £3m a year.

Public-private partnership Liverpool Direct, 80% owned by BT and 20% by Liverpool City Council, replaced a paper system with a Civica electronic document management and workflow system three years ago. The Civica software was installed over a Northgate system platform.

Some 80% of benefits claims are now processed within ten working days, and 93% are done with 14 days. Collection of business-rate tax has gone from 93% to 99.4%, and a backlog of 50,000 cases has been dealt with.

Chief executive, David McElhinney, said they had shut three floors that were previously used to store thousands of paper records, saving £750,000 a year.

Front- and back-office processes have been separated, with the contact centre and one-stop shops dealing with customers and back-office staff working only on processing claims. The system means they all see the same information.

McElhinney said documents are now scanned into the system, archived and indexed overnight. On the 31st day after they are received, paper documents are shredded. For customers who claim benefits through a one-stop shop, their documents can be scanned on-site, meaning Liverpool Direct does not have to hold the paper copies at all.

The number of documents received each week has reduced from 20,000 to 6,000 because more efficient processes mean fewer documents are lost and have to be sent again. In addition, a higher collection rate of business tax means less chasing of companies and less work for staff.

McElhinney said, "We have used the system to weed out bureaucracy in the processes.

"The system has improved our performance beyond recognition. We used to be one of the worst organisations in the country for benefits and revenue, and now we are probably one of the best."

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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