Hounslow Council has announced its intention to award a Corporate Services Contract to Liberata. The contract will see Liberata deliver a range of services including revenues and benefits assessments, transactional finance, HR administration, and payroll services on behalf of the Council. The initial contract is for seven years, with the option to extend it for a further three years, and is potentially worth up to £75 million.
Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “We’re pleased to be continuing our working partnership with Liberata. It has been a successful pairing so far and we believe that going forward together we can deliver important services that allow us to ensure that we are in turn, delivering to our residents.”
Liberata has been a trusted partner to the Council since 2005, with its revenues and assessment services achieving excellent results for the Council. Hounslow has achieved a high percentage of council tax and business rate collection rates that are in the upper quartile percentage rate for London with significant reductions in historic arrears. In the last 18 months, Liberata has also overseen the early implementation and rollout of the Universal Credit scheme by DWP [Department of Work and Pensions] as well as the digital transformation of the Council’s revenue collection and benefits assessment services.
Councillor Theo Dennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Citizen Engagement, Hounslow Council, said: “Working with Liberata over the last 12 years, has enabled us to get our council tax services online which has been well received by our residents. We want to be looking at more efficient ways of providing different services to our residents, our customers in a way that suits them and with Liberata, we have the process in place to make this happen.”
Hounslow Council has commissioned Liberata to deliver the following services:
- The administration of council tax
- The administration of business rates
- The administration of housing benefit and council tax support
- Assessments and awards – discretionary housing payments, education awards, administration of the discretionary local payments scheme
- Revenues and benefits customer services
- HR administration
- Accounts payable
- The collection of sundry debtors (including leaseholder service charges and former tenant arrears)
- Financial assessments for residents in receipt of adult social care
- Appointeeship and deputyship administration and payments
- Rent accounting
- Cash accounting
- Post and print services
- IT services – provision and administration of the council’s revenues and benefits and HR payroll systems.
Liberata will also be providing HR administration and payroll services to potentially 57 of the 75 schools within the borough. Liberata has been providing support to schools for more than 20 years, successfully working across a number of council areas including Bromley, Croydon, North Somerset and Worcestershire.
In total, approximately 90 roles will TUPE transfer from Hounslow Council to Liberata as part of the contract.
Charlie Bruin, Chief Executive for Liberata, said: “This contract is recognition of the success we’ve had in delivering on our service commitments in partnership with Hounslow Council and its residents over the last 11 years. We now look forward to further strengthening this partnership for many years to come. This is a significant public sector contract and complements our successes with Burnley and Worcestershire councils over the last 18 months. For local councils, we continue to be a reliable and trusted operating partner, demonstrating the value of flexible outsourcing and services contracts.”
Vijay Chandiramani, Chief Operating Officer for Liberata, added: “We are absolutely delighted to continue to develop and expand the strong partnership we have established with Hounslow Council in delivering excellent services to residents and other stakeholders. This partnership will achieve the key objectives set out within the Government Transformation Strategy announced last month [February], which is to enable residents, businesses and other users to have a better, more coherent experience when interacting with government services. Our ongoing innovation, using automation, advanced data analytics and proven transformational frameworks have helped deliver significant productivity and cost savings to a number of local authorities including Bromley, North Somerset and Worcestershire.
“We look forward to bringing more of this expertise and capability to Hounslow to ensure the Council is well equipped to face the significant challenges every local authority is likely to face in the years ahead. We are equally delighted to be welcoming employees transferring from the Council, as we continue to fulfil our social commitment to support local teams and empower staff to achieve higher levels of productivity with new ways of working.”