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Services that get things done – brilliantly

We build our Exchequer and Transactional Services around the people involved. Our strong relationship with you will define every solution. And aside from cost savings; we bring a deep understanding to every situation – of your challenges of course; but also the issues faced by the residents and businesses in your borough.

We’re known for our innovative and client-focused Exchequer and Transactional Services. Why? Because we’re part of one of the UK’s leading public sector shared service providers. Legal and Governance, Asset Management, Finance, HR and OD, Payroll, ICT, and Health & Safety – our broad portfolio ensures we’ve got all the tools and expertise to help you find success.

Of course, that success is often related to economies of scale: by asking us to deliver a number of your high-volume services at once, we can offer you exceptional rates. But equally, we’ll invest in those services – our Oracle Fusion payroll system for both Newham and Havering has become an industry benchmark – to improve performance (and pass all cost savings back to you).

Our Debt Resolution Service, in particular, are used by number of different councils, with many cherry-picking a number of our specialist services, like Ethical Debt Collection and legal process serving. In fact, the breadth of our portfolio – in Exchequer, Transactional and elsewhere – has led many clients to evolve and deepen their relationship with us over the years.

  • Accounts payable

    Our supplier payment hub is a centre of excellence. Our auto payment and in-built scanning solution creates a seamless end-to-end service, and everything’s underpinned by the cutting-edge fraud and duplicate payment prevention software.

    Crucially, we use the latest Oracle Cloud technology to ensure supplier payments are smooth and accurate – while finding efficiencies and costs benefits. Part of this comes from evolving P2P systems and processes. Plus, by expertly managing your NO PAY NO PAY strategies, we deliver real-time management information and analytics that help you forward plan. Naturally, the team also works closely with procurement colleagues to rationalise supplier data – and we continually adapt our work around your needs.

  • Accounts receivable

    When it comes to raising, collecting and recovering debts; our industry-leading Accounts Receivable Service uses the latest Oracle Cloud technology to make life simple. We handle debts ranging from adult social care, nursery fees and salary overpayments to commercial and market rents. Whatever the service, we raise invoices accurately and on time – then monitor their status, taking measured actions when they’re overdue, delinquent or disputed.

    With a mix of automated collection, dunning, customer contact and recovery processes, our holistic approach gives you greater visibility, tighter controls – and more reliable income. And it’s scalable: ready to respond to changes in legislation or revenue streams.

  • Business rates

    As well as managing, collecting and recovering Non Domestic Rates; our experienced team will complete and submit your financial returns. We understand the complexities of the rating system, can forecast your income, and will consistently hit and exceed collection rates. And by blending innovative technologies with traditional inspections, we’ll identify new properties and additional rateable value that increase your yields.

    We also take great pride in our customer service – treading the line between helping businesses avoid fines for late or non-payments, and taking timely action to recover debts. It’s a strength that recently helped us win COVID business support and local restriction grants contracts.

  • Debt resolution

    We’re renowned for the ethical and professional approach of our debt resolution services. It’s a very experienced department that knows how to maximise income and reduce expenditure in high-pressure public sector environments. We offer telephone collection, enforcement, tracing, analytics, data segmentation and doorstep collection services – all of which is fully supported by an integrated Welfare team.

    Empathy and commercial thinking are the bedrock of our collection methods, whether it be for Council Tax, road traffic fines, Business Rates (NNDR), tenant arrears, commercial rent, waste costs or other debts. Importantly – as we’re a public sector shared service and not private sector enforcement agents – you’ll retain all the income from statutory fees.

    Our enforcement agents are all certificated and have completed mental health awareness and social welfare training. The Welfare team uses the latest Advice Pro system technology to manage caseloads, and harnesses data analytics to pinpoint the vulnerable and those facing financial hardship. They then work with partners and the third sector to provide advice and support. There’s also a broader contribution to the debt collection strategy – the team provides key data that helps colleagues prioritise effectively, and use the right tools to maximise income.

    Our telephone collection service uses the latest software, SMS and voice messaging technologies to make it easy to communicate with residents. We also have a process serving team that serves and executes legal documents across the South East. And every colleague in the field has access to our fleet of ANPR vehicles to maximise their time – and iPads so they can process actions and transactions in an instant.

  • Council Tax and housing benefit

    Innovation and our obsession with best possible customer service sit at the heart of our Council Tax and housing benefit services. The rules may come from government; but every council is different. We’ll use our proven experience to create processes that give you maximum value – in terms of speed, cost effectiveness, and your relationship with the community.

  • Employee people services

    Our specialists can help your managers focus on delivering their services, by taking responsibility for budget monitoring and people management. That means everything under the HR & OD umbrella, from placing job adverts to making contractual changes. Our advisors add value throughout the employee cycle and ensure everyone – managers and their teams – enjoy the help, training, guidance and support they need.

  • Payroll

    Whatever the future brings, we bring certainty to payroll costs. We provide an end-to-end service with a dedicated contact so you have clear visibility of every activity. Our flat rate charge per head is unique across the industry. Equally, our breadth of expertise guarantees the most efficient, effective solutions as we strive to continuously improve our service with innovative new technologies.

  • Structured hierarchies

    Change is one of the constants, in this evolving environment for businesses, our team of hierarchy specialists with support of HR & OD Services can take you from an idea to a fully built new structure that meets the needs of your service.

  • Pension administration

    Our service agreement with one of the leaders in local government and public sector pension administrators, provides a level of expertise and resilience that no in-house service can offer. Members will enjoy a consistent approach that gives them access to the information they need, when they need it, and customer service advisers with the talent and knowledge to solve queries at speed.

Case studies

Our use of technology and customer service to drive improvements set us apart from the competition. Here are some examples of how we’ve helped our clients overcome their challenges.

Apprenticeships Talent Hub

Our Talent Hub helps Havering and Newham councils maximise the Apprenticeships Levy by identifying skills gaps, improving diversity and creating more effective programmes.

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Case Study
Apprenticeships Talent Hub

Our Talent Hub helps Havering and Newham councils maximise the Apprenticeships Levy by identifying skills gaps, improving diversity and creating more effective programmes.

Any organisation whose annual salary bill tops £3m has to pay the 0.5% Apprenticeships Levy. The money is then topped up by government and put into a fund for employers to invest in apprentices’ training over the next 24 months.

Any funds that aren’t spent over those two years are reclaimed by HMRC. So it’s vital that Havering and Newham Councils get the most for the £1m+ they put in their funds each year. Our solution? A Talent Hub that maximises their apprenticeship schemes’ reach and impact.

A dedicated central team

In practice, the team behind the Talent Hub work with line managers and training providers to create programmes that fill skills gaps at each Council – not just for more junior roles, but higher and degree-level apprenticeships.

They make sure the door’s open to everyone – internal and external applicants from all backgrounds, including care leavers and young people living in poverty. And finally, they oversee the programme, ensuring the apprentices get the high-quality learning to excel.

A conveyor belt of success stories

The first Talent Hub-led programmes recruited five degree-level Social Workers for Havering and Newham. They’re all now in hard-to-fill permanent roles, and studying towards their Level 6 Social Worker Apprenticeship.

More recently, the team helped four people already at Havering start Building Control degree apprenticeships, and a further five people – two existing and three new hires – join the Level 7 Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeship, a particularly tough area to recruit for. And in terms of softer skills, six Newham managers are taking the Emerging Leaders programme run by SOLACE – experts in public sector senior leadership.

Put together, the future’s looking very bright for Newham and Havering’s apprenticeships. The Talent Hub is a unique solution that’s making great strides in not only ensuring the Levy is good value for money for both Councils – but delivering the right people, with the right skills.

Helping Newham use wellbeing to fight COVID

The once-in-a-generation challenge of COVID-19 has shone a light on the importance of employee wellbeing. Our measures ensured everyone at Newham had the support they needed and deserved.

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Case Study
Helping Newham use wellbeing to fight COVID

The once-in-a-generation challenge of COVID-19 has shone a light on the importance of employee wellbeing. Our measures ensured everyone at Newham had the support they needed and deserved.

Our holistic wellbeing programme had been a core part of our portfolio of services for a few years. As well as our own initiatives, it was built on best practices developed by organisations as diverse as: NHS and Public Health organisations, Deloitte and our own Health Champions Network.

Importantly, we looked at the issue from every angle – we built awareness, turned understanding into action, and provided support and flexibility. We laid the path for a wellbeing journey.

COVID-19

As the pandemic evolved, we didn’t need to read the endless newspaper articles to know the people in our care would likely need the programme in greater numbers. We saw how stressful it was navigating through such uncertain times: fatigue, fear, the repetitiveness of Zoom call after Zoom call, and the gap between logging off and logging on feeling shorter by the day.

So, rather than reacting as events progressed, we set about learning how we could help Newham’s people through the crisis.

Responding at speed

Our first act was to set up a Wellbeing Subgroup of our most respected professionals. They looked at Newham’s wellbeing services, and what people would need during the pandemic – and highlighted the gaps.

Throughout, the team was mindful of the practicalities. Was a solution worthwhile? Is it being delivered in the right from? Would it be useful for people working from home, on critical frontline services, continuing in their normal place of work and those needing to shield?

A comprehensive approach

Naturally, mental health support was a key priority. We created the Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) support network, made up of employees who could be ‘booked’ for 30-minute private chats. We also added extra layers to the existing Employee Assistance Programme, including Group Resilience – helping entire families – and Bereavement Support.

All the details were on the intranet, and we drip fed communications, so everyone knew there was help if they needed it.

As time went on, specific services got in touch for advice. One conversation led to our ‘Wellbeing Conversations – A conversation worth having’ training module for Newham’s Children Social Work managers.

And taking a step further, we went on to work with CMT and psychologist and restorative wellbeing specialists to create our ‘Time to Talk’ initiative, where internal volunteers support colleagues by making the time to sit down with them and have honest wellbeing conversations.

Elsewhere, we delivered targeted sessions for Hub Managers feeling the strain of having such a responsibility for their community. We created and ran wellbeing other audience-specific workshops in person and over Zoom – sometimes for hundreds of people at a time, at other times for small leadership teams.

Keeping things normal

The annual staff survey in June 2020 was the perfect opportunity for us to understand how people were coping, what support was working, and what services were still perhaps missing.

One thing became abundantly clear: people needed hope. Everyone took great pride in supporting councils, communities and residents. But they needed to know there was a long-term plan, and that there were still things to celebrate.

This tied in well with our work on the Council’s staff benefits site, which also launched that June. While it was held virtually, Newham’s staff awards were also a roaring success. And to prove the new normal was a lot like the old normal, we brought to life an initiative we floated in 2019 – a cross-Council Wellbeing Week, with events ranging from Dealing with Stress and Anxiety in Difficult Times, to Let’s Talk About Menopause.

Building wellbeing that lasts

One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that organisations with innovative and creative HR &OD teams have created stronger bonds with their people.

With a detailed and targeted approach to wellbeing, we ramped up Newham’s wellbeing strategy to deliver good value, cost-effective initiatives in trying circumstances. And these initiatives are going further than simply solving practical symptoms of any issues.

They’re giving people the opportunity to have real conversations about topics that used to be taboo, such as mental health. They’re helping us connect virtually and metaphorically more than ever. And they’re strengthening people’s resilience and agility – to everyone’s benefit.

We have some of the most innovative and respected public sector shared services in the UK.

Your challenges are unique – but our experience makes us the perfect people to find the perfect solution. What’s more: we only work with the public sector. We share your passion for the communities you serve.