Auckland City rating stays in-house

While Auckland Regional Council is outsourcing its rates collection, Auckland City is keeping the process entirely in-house as it moves to offer online services such as consent applications and dog registration.

While Auckland Regional Council is outsourcing its rates collection, Auckland City is keeping the process entirely in-house as it moves to offer online services such as consent applications and dog registration.

The city council will spend $9.5 million on a new Pathway system from local government software specialist GEAC for use in property rating, receipts, parking control, licensing, consents, animal control and managing customer requests.

CIO Ian Rae says rating is a core business for the city council and just one of Pathway’s “critical” functions.

“Auckland City has the best knowledge around in areas of rating law, policy, operation and systems.”

He says its knowledge, skills and systems are closely linked with its ability to offer the right customer service.

“There is no compelling proven alternative [to doing it in-house] at this point.”

Pathway replaces a 13-year-old GEAC TCS system, which the council believes could not support the council’s current demands, nor new and growing demands from customers and citizens for services like e-commerce.

New functions will include improved information management and integration of previous standalone systems.

“Pathway will operate 24 x 7 and as such support the customer service operations of the council and provide for greater use of e-business including the online lodging of consent applications, payment for specific services, online dog registration and customer registration,” Rae says.

The two-year implementation process has already begun, with a core phase concerning rating and other “must dos” set to go live next July. Following this will be an “opportunities” programme of service improvements, such as e-commerce and consolidating other systems into Pathway.

Rae says the selection process involved 12 companies preparing a final response to a council RFI tender and a four-stage process that included company officials making week-long visits to the council to demonstrate their systems.

GEAC and Pathway won in each phase of evaluation, he says.

Rae says the selection and implementation process was driven from a business improvement and benefit basis, not as a system replacement, which is essential to maximise the potential benefits from the change.

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