The Province of Nova Scotia
The Province of Nova Scotia has a population of approximately 1 million people. Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (SNSMR) provides citizens and businesses with services on behalf of other government departments.
Service Nova Scotia & Municipal Relations (SNSMR) provides citizens and businesses with services on behalf of other government departments and has offices that serve 54 communities across the province and an extensive online portal.
AMANDA business process automation software allowed Service Nova Scotia & Municipal Relations to maintain their commitment to efficient public service by creating an automated workflow to allow easy registration for business licenses, registrations and permits. AMANDA’s system logic helps the Collections Department by assigning accounts to collectors based on debt type, business rules, missed/returned payments or automated payments. These are just examples of the several processes which AMANDA helped to automate in the Province of Nova Scotia.
The Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (SNSMR) department has offices in 54 communities across the province and an extensive online portal. Its use of CSDC’s software product AMANDA continues to grow. AMANDA is used for business processing needs of Nova Scotia Business Registry (NSBR), Nova Scotia Environment, Labour and Workforce development, Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Nova Scotia Liquor Commission and the government’s collections branch resident in Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.
60,000 businesses in the Nova Scotia Business Registry (NSBR) use AMANDA for registration and updates.
NSBR was developed as a result of a partnership between SNSMR, the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) and the federal government’s Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). NSBR is the single access point for registration and licensing needs of over 60,000 business of Nova Scotia, serving many departments within the provincial government. Businesses can register for their CRA Business Number (BN) and enroll with WCB along with applying and renewing licenses.
The Government of Nova Scotia is in the midst of a Better Regulations Initiative which will reduce the administration burden by 20%. Turnaround times have been significantly reduced. The NSBR is a strategic part of this initiative with many departments looking to SNSMR as a delivery agent for their licenses and permits. Before the Nova Scotia Government began using NSBR, there was little information shared between agencies or levels of government, forcing customers to deal with each department separately.
In late 1990s, synchronizing updates was very difficult as registry and license information was stored in 8 silo databases. AMANDA was selected to store all this data in one place. With the help of AMANDA, interfaces were developed to integrate information with WCB and CRA. NSBR was implemented by replacing the 8 different databases, eliminating duplication and data amalgamation from legacy systems into AMANDA. More than 850 fields of information are provided by this single source of information.
Businesses now register with all levels of government, using their Business Number (BN) as a unique identifier, over mail, fax or the web. New registrants can request and get new numbers online in seconds, made possible by the CRA Business Number recorded in AMANDA.
With the help of AMANDA, businesses have a more convenient way to register for business licenses, obtain licenses, registrations, permits, and update their information. To-date NSBR has issued over 60 types of licenses.
AMANDA helps with the auditing of self-reported Business Taxes. Provincial Tobacco Tax, Fuel Tax and Corporate Capital Tax generated by businesses using the AMANDA software can be tracked by the Audit and Enforcement section within SNSMR’s Program Management and Corporate Services division.
Nova Scotia has been using AMANDA since 2005 as the platform to manage audits and investigations, in the office and in the field, with the Audit Risk Assessment and Management System. The system keeps a track of the time spent by auditors and ensures quality control of all audits. Millions of dollars have been reimbursed in provincial business taxes till date.
SNSMR’s collection unit decided to implement AMANDA when NSBR went live. Over $450 million of debt that was due was collected.
Their self-funding model has evolved to an organization with a corporate mandate to make collections on behalf of all provincial departments. Integration with several other systems and the province’s financial management system, SAP has further enabled the collections.
AMANDA is configured to work with the Collection Department’s one-on-one service model. AMANDA assigns accounts to collectors based on debt type, business rules, missed/returned payments or automated payments that have been missed. This enables collectors to see their assignments on their to-do list. All of a person’s debts are connected through several pieces of common data, and through the linking structure available in AMANDA. In cases where someone has more than one account, collectors have the power to internally redirect Federal Income Tax refunds and GST Refunds that are received electronically from CRA.
Other features include 88 templates from which AMANDA generates merge letters, discussions, internal comments, emails and other correspondence. All generated correspondence is stored within the system, is date stamped and cannot be modified. This is important for potential legal proceedings. Ongoing monitoring of accounts with the help of AMANDA’s financial and process reports to manage potential fraudulent or unintended mishandling of collection amounts.
Over the years, AMANDA has evolved from a point solution to an enterprise-wide system. The security architecture enables the same system to store data owned by many stakeholders, while showing each group only their own data. For some programs, SNSMR makes files invisible until they are needed for a joint purpose. SNSMR won CSDC’s Innovation Award for groundbreaking use of AMANDA.
In 2007, SNSMR implemented AMANDA to use as a corporate refund and rebate system that was run on behalf of other departments. The system manages rebates to seniors on their property tax and home heating bills. It also rebates fuel, tobacco, and vehicle tax to businesses. The department’s Point-of-Sale system and SAP has also been integrated with NSBR. GIS has been introduced in NSBR along with Civic Address database for verifying addresses. The use of the Civic Address and the valuable GIS data will continue to grow through the use of web services.
AMANDA is key to the future of the delivery of services to citizens and businesses within the province. The implementation of the public portal for Fuel Safety has opened the door for new opportunities. In 2008, a readiness assessment was undertaken and it was determined that it is time to move to the latest version of AMANDA and take advantage of tools such as Executive Monitor. AMANDA is a valuable tool in helping government meet its Better Regulation Initiative targets quickly and efficiently.