Salford City Council extends Bristow & Sutor partnership
Salford City Council (SCC) has renewed its relationship with Bristow & Sutor for the provision of enforcement services. This new contract, which lasts until at least September 2023, was awarded after a formal tender process and predominantly targets the acquisition of outstanding parking debts, Council Tax and National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR).
Bristow & Sutor is one of the UK’s leading players specialising in debt recovery and has over 42 years’ experience in the collection of local council tax, non-domestic rates and unpaid Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). The company also began working with Transport for London (TfL) earlier this year to collect unpaid PCNs for road charging schemes and traffic enforcement contraventions.
SCC is one of ten Metropolitan District Councils within Greater Manchester. The city of Salford covers five districts of Salford, Eccles, Worsley, Irlam & Cadishead, and Swinton & Pendlebury; with over 220,000 people currently residing in the area. Bristow & Sutor has supported SCC with enforcement services for the last 10 years. The company previously provided revenues enforcement services to SCC, but this has now been extended to the provision of PCN services.
For the latest contract to be awarded, providers were tasked with showing evidence of ongoing social value and most importantly, customer engagement. It was integral for acceptance onto the framework that companies could demonstrate their value and ability to implement the highest quality management systems.
Bristow & Sutor understands the increased importance of these requirements since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and has worked hard to optimise the use of contracts, maximise collections, ensure a high-quality service and provide comprehensive reports and evidence of accountability at all times. The business has developed and enhanced services including the introduction of webchat for debtors, increasing outbound calls, implementing text reminders for cases in payment arrangements, offering more payment methods and prioritising the most successful contact techniques.
Despite visits being placed on hold for five months, Bristow & Sutor managed to secure £8million pounds of revenue for local authority clients throughout the first COVID-19 lockdown. During this timeframe, when no visits were permitted, the company received no complaints from customers or the public. Investment in the use of technology was key to this success and also to the wider achievements of the company. The business picked up a Silver Award for digital transformation and change at the DXCA’20 Awards in and has also received FORS Silver accreditation this year for its vehicle management systems and support.
Since enforcement activity resumed at the end of August, every Bristow & Sutor enforcement agent (EA) has been in possession of PPE equipment such as masks, hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes, disinfectant sprays and gloves as standard. All members of staff have been trained on the use of PPE and must pass an industry approved course before being allowed to conduct visits. They are not permitted to enter properties currently, so any resolution found is done so in a socially distanced manner from the doorstep.
Andy Rose, CEO at Bristow & Sutor, says, “Bristow & Sutor is delighted to have been selected by Salford City Council to continue support with revenue enforcement activity and expand our partnership into PCN services. The reality of Government suspending enforcement action during the coronavirus lockdown has left local authorities requiring fast, efficient and accountable recovery action as soon as possible. Through ongoing training, a pragmatic approach and continuous technological investment, we have ensured we are ready to help immediately and we look forward to doing so.”
Bristow & Sutor prides itself on delivering an ethical, compliant and high-quality service to the public and private sectors. Agents regularly assist debtors with completing questionnaires, setting up payment arrangements and directing them towards support and advice where appropriate. They are trained to the highest standard and use modern technology and data to achieve market-leading performance, whilst protecting the most vulnerable in society and the reputations of clients.