Paying benefits to citizens quickly and accurately is a key priority for councils.

Since 2019, we’ve supported Harrow Council to do just that, with additional resilience services that give them the resources they need to maintain standards when responding to legislative changes or specific projects, and when they are experiencing workforce shortages.

Harrow Council’s revenues and benefits team has two major responsibilities: assessing and paying housing benefit, social welfare claims and council tax reductions, and billing, collecting and recovering revenue streams such as council tax and National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR).

It’s incredibly important that the team works productively and efficiently to support citizens, and ensure the council receives the money they need to provide public services.

Making citizen services faster and more efficient

We’re helping to provide the team with additional capacity and resilience by processing council tax reduction claims and recovering payments, and managing the NNDR service for billing, collection, and recovery. We also manage the billing and recovery of overpaid housing benefit.

Since the start of 2019 we have processed:

  • 204,000 new benefit claims and changes to entitlement.
  • 216,000 council tax account adjustments and recovery actions.
  • 23,000 inflationary write-offs on council tax accounts to support vulnerable citizens.

Working closely in partnership with the Council has allowed for the timely and accurate payment of benefits, recovery of overpaid benefits, and the administration of council tax and national non-domestic rates records, which has enabled the council to put the needs of their citizens first.


➥ of Verify Earnings and Pensions (VEP) alerts completed by 2022/23 year end

Fern Silverio

Head of Service – Collections and Housing Benefits, Harrow Council

This has been achieved due to your sheer hard work, professionalism in getting on with the job regardless, and simply being a brilliant team. This will leave Harrow in an excellent position to face the newest challenge affecting us, the cost-of-living crisis.

Helping to minimise fraud and error

The Housing Benefit Award Accuracy (HBAA) Initiative was started by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in October 2020 to tackle fraud and error in housing benefit payments. Under the initiative, local authorities must undertake full case reviews, housing benefit matching referrals and self-employed earnings reviews. They are also required to return management information to DWP on case outcomes. Funding is available to support councils to conduct these activities so they can proactively identify unreported changes and make sure the right amount of benefit is paid to the right person at the right time.

We supported Harrow Council to fulfil their HBAA obligations by proposing a robust and efficient process and managed the project in collaboration with the benefits management team. This collaboration ensured they were able to access the DWP funding and meet their targets.

Maximising collection

Through our support and collective working we’ve helped Harrow to:

  • successfully maintain their valuation lists for council tax and national non-domestic rates
  • meet their collection rate target in all consecutive years for council tax and national non-domestic rates
  • reduce overpaid aged housing benefit debt by over £5.4m since 2021.

Our initial five-year contract with Harrow Council runs until 2024, and this has now been extended until 31 March 2025. We plan to continually review our services in collaboration with them to ensure we provide an accurate, timely and a cost-effective service that supports citizens and meets demands.

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