Mid Sussex District Council wins national technology award for supporting vulnerable residents

Mid Sussex District Council has won a national technology award with software platform TellJO for the support they give to vulnerable residents.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 5:11 pm

Both the council and company won the Vulnerable Customer Identification and Screening category of the The Credit & Collections Technology Awards, which recognise technological innovation in the industry.

If residents miss a council tax payment, the District Council uses the TellJO system to automatically send out emails and text messages to see if the resident is okay.

“Providing support for our residents who are facing financial and social difficulties is at the heart of everything we do,” said councillor Ruth de Mierre, Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet member for Customer Services.

From left: Kevin Stewart, MSDC business unit leader for revenues and benefits; councillor Ruth de Mierre, MSDC cabinet member for customer service; Robin Dunning, MSDC revenues enforcement officer; Dominic Maxwell, co-founder and director at TellJO; and Natalie Harris, MSDC Enforcement Team Manager. Picture: Mid Sussex District Council.

“TellJO enables us to identify people who may need help at an early stage and this means we can work with them to resolve issues before they get out of control and extra fees are added to their outstanding debts,” she said.

Residents’ issues could include financial difficulties, poor health or other social problems and TellJO lets the council pinpoint what the problem is.

“It’s a wonderful software platform that helps us engage directly with our vulnerable customers,” said Mrs de Mierre, adding that most people experiencing financial difficulties are reluctant to talk to their creditors.

“TellJO acts as a trusted go-between, helping to connect our support staff with hard to reach groups,” she said.

To date TellJO has helped over 75 per cent of respondents request new payment arrangements and provided 46 percent with immediate debt advice.

Dominic Maxwell, co-founder and director at TellJO said: “It’s fantastic to be recognised with this prestigious award.

“Working with Mid Sussex District Council demonstrates that by harnessing innovation and asking residents ‘are you ok?’ it is possible to use digital to improve resident wellbeing and reduce the potential for homelessness at an early stage.”