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Establishing a relationship

With an historic relationship dating back to 2005, when the opportunity to tender for the bulk printing and mailing work for Leeds City Council Revenues and Benefits department came up in 2011, we jumped at the chance!

Since that time, we have supported the Council with a succession of ongoing contracts, with successful renewals in 2015 and 2019, extending our original brief.

Client objectives:

  • Dispatch all documents by the legally required deadline
  • Make savings on printing and posting by combining as many documents as possible into single envelope sets
  • Ensure 100% accuracy of posting to avoid data breaches and customer confusion
  • Reduce the strain on call centres following dispatch

Managing complex communications

In addition to the ongoing printing and mailing work for Revenues and Benefits throughout the year, Leeds City Council has an annual requirement for over 300,000 Council Tax bills to be dispatched in bulk every March.

This includes tens of thousands of benefits and rent notification letters that need to be correctly matched with the corresponding communication.

There are also variable numbers of selective forms that are combined with certain bills based on complex criteria agreed with the client. In addition, the number and type of letters included with the project changes each year, based on the target set by the Council.

Calling upon our expertise

At FDM, we have a very experienced team involved at all stages of the document design and production process. Having worked specifically within Revenues and Benefits and also with other local government requirements, we understand the requirements of Leeds City Council across the Revenues and Benefits output.

In addition to our talented team, we also use industry leading software such as Quadient Inspire Designer for the document design and processing, alongside bespoke programs written by our developers to cater for the Council’s individual and specific requirements.

Combined with our knowledge and experience in the local government sector, this gives us a lot of flexibility around how we import client data and match various documents to create fully bespoke designs and specifications. This is carried out without any risk to the integrity and security of client data or any reduction in accuracy and clarity of documents posted to taxpayers.

We also use state-of-the-art mailing machines and software, allowing for both high speed and accurate enclosing of complex documents together with multiple separate leaflets. These machines are operated and supervised by experienced staff with a full understanding of the sensitivity of local government correspondence.

Handling projects of scale  

The resulting documents are complex with almost endless variations of personalised letters being matched to each other. Providing some context, a recent annual bill project included approximately:

  • 315k bills
  • 65k multi-page benefit notification letters
  • 100k selective forms in four sorts

This resulted in:

  • 1,14m sides of printing
  • 320k envelope sets

What’s more, some of the letters would contain sensitive personal information, which if not handled correctly would result in serious data breaches.

Focusing on results

We have developed a strong partnership with the team from Leeds City Council over the years.

As the annual bill projects take place under very strong time pressures, we have managed all communications on time, ensuring that robust procedures are in place and strictly adhered to.

We have also put complex development and testing measures in place to continuously review and, where necessary, update the processes that we use for Leeds City Council.

Adding further value

Although geared up for large quantity bulk printing, we also do more bespoke small-scale print jobs for Leeds City Council. In 2022, the Council asked if we could print some benefit review letters and forms.

Although these are not large volumes, the print specification is unusual, including personalized, multi-page, stapled printed forms, matched to letters that need to be hand enclosed.

Despite being very different from bulk machine-enclosed print jobs, we have managed this project for two years now. It is a further example of how we can be flexible and provide small-scale bespoke projects, as well as large-scale bulk personalised printing, for our clients.


 Loraine Gater, Lead Engineer, Integrated Digital Service, Leeds City Council, comments: “We’ve worked with FDM for years and have a great relationship with the team. As well as handling large volumes, we can trust them to meet with our high expectations when it comes to quality and accuracy.

“Clearly, having access to the savings we make in terms of production and postal costs is a clear benefit, but so too is having a personal relationship with our account team. It means we can pick up the phone and speak to someone that will understand and help to solve any problems.  

“Given the scale of the projects that we work on, we need a supplier that will be flexible. There are times when changes need to be made at the last minute and FDM can manage this without it becoming needlessly complicated.”