Improved information flow and data analysis drives operational efficiency and accelerates cash-to-bank.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) collects money to fund UK public services. It does this through activities varying from advice and support to debt collection and enforcement action. In cases where contact by phone or letter have failed, Field Force Enforcement Units (FFEUs) chase outstanding debt through direct face-to-face customer contact, providing advice, delivering legal documents and, where necessary by enforcement actions which can include the seizing of goods to the value of the debt. To optimise flexibility in the operations and improve information flow, HMRC worked with Capgemini to introduce mobile technology and automation.
Field Force Collectors (FFCs) have been given Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs) with a secure 3G connection and a specially designed application to verify details with customers and provide information about the outcome of visits. The new IT for office-based tasks enables the FFEUs to provide contact information, scheduling and analysis to FFCs; performance information to managers; electronic case information to HMRC solicitors; and management information to Debt Management and Banking.
UMPCs linking FFCs to FFEUs have significantly improved operational efficiency. The solution allowed HMRC to increase the number of calls to taxpayers and debtors, and the target to accelerate cash-to-bank by £200 million in the first year was exceeded. FFCs make 33% more visits a day, on average, than they did without the UMPC solution, and HMRC has reduced the number of office desks to one per three collectors. FFCs update pre-populated information on the UMPC screen and print letters during visits instead of writing forms and posting follow-up letters.
Outcome analysis helps identify the best time for visits to different debtors, and gives greater flexibility to schedule out of hours and weekend visits. The encrypted UMPCs provide greater customer data security than paper, and continuous communication between FFCs and FFEUs improves their personal safety. Accurate management information improves work allocation and staff management. Data from UMPCs allows HMRC to better evaluate performance, and implement best practice across teams to improve productivity and quality.
The solution supports HMRC’s commitment to make early contact to help customers in difficulty, and where appropriate remove goods or deliver court papers to those who refuse to pay or make returns. FFCs now spend more time educating customers, such as explaining how to make electronic payments. Their enforcement work is more effective too, for example, bankruptcy petitions prepared by HMRC solicitors’ office can be hand-delivered by FFCs within hours of filing in court, and when notices are served on, or goods removed from, companies with multiple sites, visits can be scheduled to take action simultaneously in different locations.