Practical Implementation

Ducharme Municipal Debt Collection Support

November 28, 2019

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Municipal Debt Collection as part of Revenue management

Non-delivery of municipal customer accounts for rates and services is a major problem in municipal debt collection and has serious consequences for municipalities and cash flow. It is imperative that all returned mail be carefully analysed to determine why bills were not received by intended recipients, but also actively managed as part of credit control to ensure that a returned account does not remain an unpaid account.

From our experience at municipal clients on Revenue Management & Enhancement projects, one key element of such Revenue projects is the Credit Control Function. One of the Credit Control functions that are not always functioning properly is the task of dealing with Undelivered / Returned Municipal Accounts. Efficient & effective credit control is integral to municipal revenue management.

We have been able to provide practical support to the municipalities to address shortcomings with their credit control functions and returned accounts, but also have assisted in the recovery of significant municipal debt through both pre-legal and formal debt recovery.

In support of this, we can assist with:

  • ensuring the Municipal database is an accurate update to avoid undelivered accounts;
  • all Municipal Invoices that are returned as undeliverable are properly identified and analysed and the correct customer and related postal or email particulars are identified for the returned post;
  • debt collection support; and
  • capacity building for municipal officials.

Ducharme credit control support

In light of our experience, Ducharme can provide support on various elements of municipal credit control. Please find below more details on our tailored support:

1. Municipal revenue database support

In support of an accurate municipal database with consideration of revenue elements and municipal debtors, we have developed an e-solution to assist municipalities in ensuring completeness of revenue (comparison of property and billing and debtor data sets) as well as debtor information accuracy and update. We combine various data sources and generate exception reports allowing a municipality to maximise the revenue generated from their fixed assets.

Our Revenue Enhancement Methodology provides for a holistic overview of revenue and consumer account information as contained per deeds office, land parcel data / cadastral information, valuation roll and billing system.

In support of accurate customer database, which also supports efficiencies in the collection processes, we can assist with the provision of the debtor of different tracing methods, either by way of consumer data (credit report) or tracing agents. Our consumer data checks allow for cross-checks across various credit reports from the big credit bureaus and are able to provide multi-source details (where available) on addresses, telephone numbers, employers, collections and default histories.

2. Returned municipal customer accounts

For returned municipal customer accounts, we can assist with:

Returned Post Flagging support: e.g. Customer no longer residing at given address; Post / Physical address is incorrect; Account is incorrectly flagged as inactive/active.

Non-delivery validation: this includes determining the reason for non-delivery, establishing contact with the owner of the property and notification of update of billing details on the system.

Billing validation support to ensure that active and inactive status is correct.

Other high-level support such as:

  • The identification of customers for whom no monthly accounts are being printed.
  • Debtors Age Analysis reconciliation to confirm accounts are unpaid.
  • Ad hoc mail delivery support either by hand or email to the correct debtor.
  • Corrective data cleansing & overview of updating of debtor details on ERP databases.
  • Municipal Training support to perform corrective steps to address returned accounts.

3. Municipal debt collection support

As part of credit control, we can assist with debt collection. Our methodology is prioritised on the principles of collecting outstanding debt by way of the following:

  • pre-legal debt engagements. E,g, first notices, disconnections notices, final demands, municipal cut off processes, and liaison with clients; and
  • formal legal collection process. E.g. Summons & Default Judgements, Judgement Debt Recovery (Section 65 Procedures or Sales in Execution).

We are registered with the Council of Debt Collectors and members of the Association for Debt Recovery Agents (ADRA).

4. Capacity-building support

We can provide tailored capacity building support as part of Revenue Management and Enhancement programmes. This includes aspects such as:

  • Accurate & complete consumer & land parcel database
  • Metering & Billing
  • Debt Collection
  • Customer care and communication
  • Analysing a debtors book
  • Decreasing water and electricity losses
  • Credit control and debtors collection policy; and
  • Managing the poor

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