Headlines: January 13th, 2005

Local councils will soon be able to install systems to help them recover the 800m pounds of council tax that goes unpaid annually. The design of the pilot system, known as Valuebill, has been agreed by the eight councils taking part in the pilot and there is a final opportunity for other councils to comment on the system. Consultation ends on 18 February 2005.The system, which 16 suppliers are involved in developing, is designed to streamline the processes which underpin the collection of local property taxes by creating an electronic information exchange between councils and the Valuation Office Agency. The data that Valuebill provides will both speed up and reduce the cost of collection. Other benefits include faster and more efficient property valuations and improved quality of property information held by councils. It will also be possible to provide a better service for consumers.

The project is one of 23 centrally funded National Projects which are developing e-solutions and products that local authorities can use. Products from most of the projects will be in the marketplace soon for rollout to local councils.