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NewsVoicescape strengthens Local Government team and wins new Council Tax Collections contract

Voicescape strengthens Local Government team and wins new Council Tax Collections contract

Voicescape, a software business that provides tenant engagement solutions for social landlords and Council Tax collections for local authorities, has been appointed by Newcastle City Council to help manage increasing Council Tax arrears.

The Council has over 110,000 properties subject to council tax and will use Voicescape’s Collections solution within its revenue and benefits team to manage council tax collection. It is hoped that, by using the technology, the scale and quality of customer engagement will improve – something that has been seen with tenants of Your Homes Newcastle, an existing Voicescape customer which manages estates and housing stock on behalf of the Council.

Lesley Watson, Revenues & Benefits Manager at Newcastle City Council, commented: “The last two years have created significant challenges due to the impact of COVID-19. During this period, our teams have worked tirelessly to ensure they have supported residents. However, it’s clear that as the cost of living bites, we need to increase community engagement and support our officers further to maximise income collection. We’re confident Voicescape will play a vital role in helping us achieve our aims.”

As part of Voicescape’s ambition to strengthen its position in the public sector, the Manchester-based business has appointed Sean Sutton as the new Head of Local Government.

Formerly Head of Public Sector at Esendex, he brings more than 11 years’ experience in managing software applications in both central and local government, together with 15 years’ experience working across a more diverse cross-section of industries. Working in both private and public sectors, he has helped to increase market engagement and business process efficiencies through the use of digital technology.

Bill Williams, Chief Revenue Officer at Voicescape, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Sean to the team at a time of significant change in the market. With a proven track record in taking a dynamic approach to process and system improvement, particularly across central and local government, we’re confident his arrival will help us to amplify our core message of driving resident engagement through digital transformation within local government such as at Newcastle City Council.”

The pressures facing households have had a direct impact on collection and arrears figures in local government, with an average drop in collection rates of 1.12%, and as much as 10% for some councils. This equates to an average arrears increase of £1.2 million per council for the billing period and an increase in total arrears of £2.7 million.

“At a strategic level, Sean has consistently shown the ability to identify and maximise real business transformation opportunities. This, together with a keen sense of understanding customer and staff needs, results in ideas becoming practical winning strategies – something we’re very keen to tap into for the benefit of our customers,” Williams added.

Prior to joining Voicescape, Sean also held senior positions at Civica Digital and boxxe. During his career, he has worked alongside the Welsh Government, The Ministry of Justice (MOJ), The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DCLG), and NI Direct, to successfully deliver digital transformation projects.

Sutton said: “I passionately believe that ‘digital’ should be at the core of every business strategy for client and staff engagement. Mobile platforms are ‘the route into change’. Everywhere you look, you see people browsing their mobile devices. Digital is the language of today, and for the future generations of residents.

“Voicescape is setting the pace when it comes to tackling the pain points and challenges of arrears management in local government through digital transformation. This brand new approach to service provision is not only exciting, but also has the potential to really transform the ways in which organisations such as Newcastle City Council operate. At a time of increased financial and operational pressures, we have a real opportunity to drive meaningful change at both a strategic and operational level for local authorities.”

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