The topic of debt collection is increasingly at the forefront of both UK central and local government thinking.
The introduction of the Breathing Space initiative, the Government Debt Management Function within the Cabinet Office and the growing clamour from MPs for the creation of a Debt Management Bill are all indicators that the direction of travel is towards a more sensitive approach to debt collection that is predicated on an understanding of wider issues and vulnerabilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increasingly pushed the above up the agenda, with both local authorities and residents increasingly financially vulnerable. As central government's lockdown support is eased there will be an immediate need for councils to rapidly collect outstanding debt while conversely protecting those residents who have become more vulnerable during the pandemic.
This raises questions which councils must answer, including:
- How do you ensure that collecting debt does not increase vulnerability for individuals or households?
- How do you understand the wider council costs of collecting from a vulnerable individual or household?
- How do you engage wider service touchpoints (eg social workers) before you initiate debt collection activity?
- How do you track the effectiveness of debt collection treatment strategies?
In this context, how do you maximise your revenues from debt collection?
The Xantura Single View of Debt and Vulnerability service addresses all of these questions.
The Single View of Debt and Vulnerability OneView service
The Single View of Debt and Vulnerability service utilises Xantura's pioneering OneView infrastructure which is built with information governance and ethical data sharing at its core.
The tool enables councils to share a wide range of data extracts from both debt and wider services, secure in the knowledge that personal and sensitive data will always be separate and non-identifiable on the OneView infrastructure and will only ever be re-connected based on council-approved data sharing protocols, which are embedded in the platform and completely auditable.
Using this approach, and Xantura's 12 years of experience working exclusively with council data, the OneView platform is able to accurately match data extracts from multiple council sources including all debt systems, census data, CSC, ASC and housing to create holistic views of individuals, households and addresses over time. The platform also applies sophisticated analytic processes and models to enrich the non-identifiable data and provide powerful insights back to councils.
The Single View of Debt and Vulnerability service can be used by councils in the following ways:
- Targeting debt advice and benefits take-up: The analytics and insights available through the service enable internal and external debt advice services to proactively identify cohorts of households with certain characteristics and risks. This means people can be offered support before they reach a position of crisis debt or homelessness.
- Sensitive automated treatments: The analytics and insights available through the service enable a local authority's debt collection team to deliver targeted treatment strategies to different cohorts of households based on their characteristics and risks. This approach maximises council revenue while taking into account wider vulnerabilities.
- Front line support across debt and wider services: The OneView button embedded into all case management systems enables staff with the appropriate data sharing protocols to instantly access a textual case summary of all debt and vulnerability information for a resident or household who has contacted the council for support or information.
How is it implemented?
The recommended approach is to deliver an initial diagnostic project that would encompass the following:
- Installation of Xantura's IG Bridge software onto the council infrastructure
- Agreement of the initial set of data extracts
- Agreement of the Data Sharing Protocols
- Extraction, cleansing, matching and enriching of the data
- Access to the full suite of the service's analytics dashboards, outputs and population groups
- Delivery of a full report and set of recommendations based on these outputs
- Delivery of a series of workshops with all key staff to walk through the outputs and recommendations
- Agreement of next delivery steps
The initial diagnostic project usually takes between 12-14 weeks, with the key variable being the speed at which councils can provide the agreed data extracts.
How much does it cost?
The project costs will depend on the size of your council and the scope of the data extracts. Please contact John O'Halloran to learn more.
Additional support is available
Building on the data and insights provided by the Single View of Debt and Vulnerability OneView service, CIPFA can assist you in understanding and forecasting the demand for your services in the short and medium term, to better understand the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic crisis.
If you wish to further improve your knowledge of vulnerable households and individuals, Xantura are also able to extend their data services to enable you to build out a comprehensive long-term solution across multiple different service areas.
See also Xantura's COVID-19 OneView service.
To arrange a call to learn more, please contact: John.O'Halloran@cipfa.org