The Evolution of Income Management with the Public Sector

Published On: June 8th, 2020

The income management market in the UK Public Sector is dominated by a few key players that have typically derived their market dominance from delivering solutions with strong links to the long established solutions they have provided for Council Tax and Business Rates (alongside the customer facing solutions used in a traditional customer facing Cashiers facility). Against this backdrop there are an increasing number of progressive Local Authorities that are exploring the other options that are available to them; solutions that offer increased agility at a lower total cost of ownership.

For most Councils the need to deliver efficiency savings over the extended period of austerity means there are no longer cashiers and there has already been a significant reduction in face-to-face payments. Where they do exist, these aspects are typically processed in Customer Service Centres (or wherever the services that attract charges at point of sale are provided, such as Schools, Libraries or Registrars Offices).

The shift to digital channels (and to charging for services that are discretionary) alongside a more robust approach to income protection and charging in general has seen an overall increase in transaction volumes and processing. The requirement for (and take-up of) such services has seen an immediate need for them to be made available 24/7/365. Most keenly seen for organisations such as Local Authorities, increasingly citizens are questioning what value they are getting from their digital services and expect any financial interactions with their Local Authority to be both swift and painless.

There have also been changes in the way citizens and companies choose to transact with councils. Whilst Direct Debit remains the easiest way for councils to recover permanent accounts such as Council Tax or Business Rates, for one off or less regular transactions the industry has yet to see the “citizen account” take off right across the sector.

Whilst many councils have looked at (and some have implemented) solutions that deliver a single view of the customer through CRM solutions, much of the data held is in disparate solutions that are for specific services like social care, housing rents, council tax, business rates, parking, etc. The data captured often lacks the quality / standards needed to ensure that the data matching routines are reliable. Much of the data is also historical and there are obvious constraints around how it can be used.

We are starting to see some real advances in these areas, but most these are currently focused on developing models for service planning and demand and are some distance away from providing fully managed citizens account to which to an embedded payment card or direct debit instruction could be attached.

HeyCentric’s solutions are focused on delivering a contemporary solution that is ERP / Finance system agnostic and can easily integrate with any ERP or Finance system, bank or line of business (LoB) software. All HeyCentric’s products and services are linked to forward thinking / modern payment platforms that are scalable and flexible enough to meet the continuously changing requirements and demand that Local Authority’s face as well as deep integrations to services.

Now might not be the right time for all Local Authorities to rethink their income management strategies. Clearly the current situation is unfolding in very different ways for different public sector organisations across the spectrum. However, for those that are tasked with identifying real cost savings (whilst simultaneously enhancing services to citizens and improving internal reporting and visibility of income) there is much that can be done when concentrating on the central solution that pulls together all the disparate sources of revenue and presents it to the decision makers in real-time.

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Payments via online, telephone, face-to-face, recurring card payments & automated bank channels are supported as standard.

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