More NewsSurvey says councils could improve online council tax services

Survey says councils could improve online council tax services

The latest Better Connected survey has revealed that the levels of service being offered to users of online council tax portals is failing to keep pace with the increase in user numbers.

The latest Better Connected survey has revealed that the levels of service being offered to users of online council tax portals is failing to keep pace with the increase in user numbers.

The survey by the public sector IT association found that councils are increasingly providing customer accounts, enabling people paying council tax to check their balance online. Just over 50 per cent provide this facility, compared with 38 per cent in 2012.

However, authors of the report on the survey findings question whether the speed of change is keeping up with user expectations or the need for councils to ‘channel shift’ their website users. For example, generally the advantages of setting up a customer or council tax account are not well described and just 30 per cent of councils offer residents the option to receive statements and bills by email. As a result the proportion achieving three or four stars for their council tax pages slipped to 62 per cent from 71 per cent in a previous survey.

 

More options

The report added that while councils prefer residents to set up a Direct Debit, where enquiries are being made on-screen, it should be made easy to pay online, with these offered as the first or second option in the list of ways to pay. Online payment using a bank card should be available and not just the more laborious option of for residents of setting up a BACs payment – although this is a useful further option.

Most councils have a clear link to council tax on the home page, although some still tuck this top task out of sight under ‘Advice and Benefits’ or even ‘Council and Democracy’. This is a legacy of the old Local Government Navigation List which council officers might be able to navigate but most of the public won’t. Council Tax is an important element in the council business and deserves a direct route.

 

Praise where its due

The Better Connected Report did however praise a number of councils for offering good services. Details can be found on the report.

Related Articles

Public Health England to migrate 5,500 staff to Windows 10 devices

More News Public Health England to migrate 5,500 staff to Windows 10 devices

3m Austin Clark
Six digital projects receive Nesta funding

More News Six digital projects receive Nesta funding

4m Austin Clark
UK local public service redesign showcased to international audience

More News UK local public service redesign showcased to international audience

5m Austin Clark
Details of Digital Charter revealed

Government Technology Details of Digital Charter revealed

7m Austin Clark
Government CIOs to increase spending on cloud, cybersecurity and analytics in 2018

Cloud Computing Government CIOs to increase spending on cloud, cybersecurity and analytics in 2018

7m Austin Clark
UK and France to strengthen links in tech sector and artificial intelligence

More News UK and France to strengthen links in tech sector and artificial intelligence

7m Austin Clark
GDS advertises for digital Brexit leader

More News GDS advertises for digital Brexit leader

7m Austin Clark
Start-up secures £800K Scottish Enterprise R&D funding to tackle late payments

More News Start-up secures £800K Scottish Enterprise R&D funding to tackle late payments

7m Austin Clark