The work is part of a series of conversations with partners across the city to look at the future of welfare based services and the impact of Universal Credit on Sheffield residents.
The proposals, which are being considered at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 17 October, state that the council plans to start operating this service itself in 2020, thereby ending its contract with Capita earlier than anticipated (it ends in 2022).
This proposal follows a decision taken by the Council in June this year to also end the IT part of its contract with Capita.
Capita currently operates the Revenues and Benefits service on behalf of the Council, the largest customer service area of any part of the council, which includes housing benefit and council tax support, council tax billing and collection and business rates billing and collection.
How the new in-house council service will operate is yet to be developed, but the council is proposing a system that will allow them to be more flexible in delivering services and be better able to respond to changes in welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit.
Councillor Olivia Blake, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance at Sheffield City Council, said:
Bringing these services back in-house will give us greater control and allow us to adapt and respond as the city’s priorities develop locally and as changes happen at a national level in welfare reform.
These services affect some of the most vulnerable people in Sheffield so it’s essential that we are flexible enough to support people through the coming changes in the way they receive benefits and manage their finances.
Looking at this now, gives us the opportunity to develop a purpose built system that is responsive and planned with the needs of our residents and businesses in mind, while allowing more joined up work across council services and city wide partners, and presenting potential savings in service costs.
Further details are available in the Cabinet report which has been published online at http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=123&MId=6988&Ver=4