Our interview with Barrie Minney, Senior Enforcement Agent at Brighton & Hove City Council, reveals how the Local Authority Civil Enforcement Forum (LACEF) group has been saving money through sharing advice and best practice on local authority debt collection.
"The group regularly helps a lot of us to learn new ways of working. using the latest debt collection technique is one example"
Keeping in touch and discussing issues
The LACEF group started using Knowledge Hub in 2012 and is mainly used as discussion platform. It’s where members can ask questions and share advice on local authority debt collection.
We are the largest community of local authority debt and revenue collectors with nearly all of our members from councils. We have a handful of known and vetted private sector experts who offer free advice and contribute to discussions. We hope to reach 1000 members when we celebrate LACEF’s 20-year anniversary in September 2017.
The LACEF group helps members resolve queries by enabling them to simply post a “How do you do X?” question in the forum. I have posted questions for my own work, and generally you get a response or two within the hour.
Saving money through shared practice
Typical questions include asking other local authorities how they have dealt with a particular issue, for example companies who are trying to avoid paying business rates or chasing debtors abroad. Often the shared experience of members saves local authorities many thousands of pounds. The group helps to bring local authorities together to deal with these issues.
"Being spread across the country and knowing what working practices are happening elsewhere allows us to improve how we do things."
Through sharing best practice and training, the LACEF group has saved millions of pounds over the years, sometimes just by members asking a simple question: “Have you heard of X company?” amongst a community of people who are dealing with these issues daily.
Feedback from LACEF members is that the group is brilliant and beneficial. One of the best things that happens is when a query results in immediate clarification of a perceived difficult problem. You can almost sense the sigh of relief!
It’s also great to meet other LACEF members at one of our free seminars or conferences around the country. LACEF has made friendships that would never have existed otherwise. Knowledge Hub has been a good partner for us and is a huge resource that deserves to be better known.