Draft Press Release on Licence Fee Collection in Flanders by CIPAL

ID: 199810270938

Recently the National Institute for Statistics (NIS) in Belgium published the statistics of the private households in Belgium.
These figures are important for a good comprehension of the structure of a state since the household is still to be considered as the main consumption unit of cable services. Licence fee collecting also has the household as main target.

The Kingdom of Belgium is a federalized nation.
Belgium comprises of three communities (based upon language): the Dutch (Flemish), the French (Walloon) and the German speaking community.
On the other hand Belgium consists of three regions (based upon territory): Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia. Each of these three regions their own government with growing responsabilities. Flanders is by far the most important region, both in demographic and in economic terms.
Provinces are administrative/territorial divisions of Belgium. There are 10 provinces, 5 in Flanders and 5 in Wallonia.

CIPAL is the firm responsable for the licence fee collection in the region Flanders since 1997. After a competition with the big informatic firms (IBM, EDS, Orda-B, Siemens, …) CIPAL obtained the outsourcing contract for a five year period (1997-2001).
The core business of CIPAL was and still is the treatment of digital data for the municipalities in the provinces Antwerp and Limburg.
The outsourcing of the licence fee collection must be seen as a deliberate new political option of the Flemish government: to delegate jobs to those who are considered to be the best in the market.
The responsabilities of CIPAL are considerable and complex:
• building a strong and visionary management team,
• the complete reorganisation and the training of personnel on new machines and new software,
• the installation of a full digital workflow where paperwork is banned "at the border" of the administrative process,
• the coordination of campaigns against tax evasion,
• the matching of its own database with those of the 21 cable companies in Flanders,
• the constant verification of names and adresses, and so on.

MERS is a consultant in media, communication and cable affairs. Lucas Tessens, managing director, iniated commercial television in Flanders in the 80s and cable telephony in 1994. He also advised the Flemish government and private firms in media and telecom matters. CIPAL and MERS work together from the start of CIPALs new business.

MERS believes that the collection of licence fee is much more than a pure technical matter. The huge penetration of television in households makes tax collecting a fine tuned barometer for financial and sociological trends in society. And a better comprehension of society helps to make better tax consultants and better governments.