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Short description / Current status and future steps / Lessons learned:
= Case description =
The objective of the project was to provide a speedy, cost effective, efficient and user-friendly system to maximise the income from the new €200 charge for non-principal private residences, both for the customer and for the sector. The project was started in response to the introduction of the charge on Non-Principal Private Residences under the Local Government Charges Act 2009. The legislation placed the responsibility for the collection of the charge with local authorities (LAs). This charge on second homes was designed to widen the tax base and increase the income of LAs. The idea was to ‘take’ from tax going to the LA in which property is situated. All LAs were keen to maximise take, minimise the work involved and make it easy to pay. Also LAs identified an opportunity for what became a demonstration project. A shared service was the way and a project board would drive the process. All relevant players – with anything to contribute – would be at the table on the basis of partnership. It was fully recognised from the start that the involvement from of all relevant agencies with the potential to contribute would be critical to success. This would avoid duplication, draw on relevant experience and ensure that there was commitment from key agencies to a shared common goal. It was also recognised that the sharing of data and approaches might be possible and, would again, be efficient and effective. The ‘digital divide’ was catered for through the facility of an offline payment option (as required by legislation), the Project Board wished to reduce bureaucratic procedures as much as possible through the creation of an online payment facility (www.nppr.ie). Adoption of this principle ensured an effective sharing of emerging experience and relevant information between all project board participants to maximise the amount of income collected.
The Government Decision to introduce this new charge was taken in October 2008 and the legislation was enacted in July 2009; €62.5 million was collected in the first year. In November 2008, a critical decision was taken by the County and City Managers Association to develop a national (shared service) system rather than having each local authority acting alone. This decision reflected the confidence of CCMA in the LAs’ capacity – through the Local Government Computer Services Board (LGCSB) – to develop and put in place an online system. In January 2009, the Local Government Computer Services Board agreed to create and manage an online payment facility on behalf of the local government system. The decision was then taken to establish a fully representative Project Board to steer the collection of the charge. In March 2009, the inaugural meeting of the Board and the work commenced on web interface design. In April 2009, the Board identified the need for a national bureau service to administer offline payments of charge (alongside online facility) and in July 2009 both the Online and Bureau service payment facilities were completed. The new facility has been widely publicised through media campaigns and in August 2009 the first payments were made online and by post by customers.