Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council were nominated for the All Wales Continuous Improvement Community award on ‘Innovation – Doing it Differently’. They looked to improve their customers’ experience by working on their web enabling services. Below, Patrick Anderson blogs about the work the council has done.
The Improving Customer Experience programme forms part of the Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s strategic ‘Rising to the Challenge’ transformation programme. The remit is to improve customer experience by making effective use of technology to improve access to council services and prioritise the number of services available on-line – increasing choice to the public and reducing cost of delivering services. Web enabling our services will provide an additional flexible means for the public to access council services to request a service or to report an incident 24-hour, seven days a week – adopting a citizen-centred solution.
Previously, there were very few ‘true’ on-line transactional services available to users on Neath Port Talbot’s web site. The old process entailed completing an email which would be sent to the Customer Services Section. Staff would then read the emails and enter the request into the CRM system.
We measured the success of the project by:
- An increase in the number of on-line transactions available
- An increase in the number of on-line transactions undertaken.
We undertook an investigation into the services with the highest demand. It was decided that the first tranche of services to be web enabled would be Bulky Household Waste Collection, Refuse and Recycling Consumables, Van Permits, Map Based Reporting and Pest Control.
In remodelling these services for web development , we included the back office staff, front office staff, members of the public and members of our equalities group to help with the user testing. It was important to us that the whole flow of work was improved not simply move the current service, as is, onto the web.
The services went live in from September 2013 to June 2014. The current take up of online services is as follows:
- Bulky Household Collections (26% booked online)
- Refuse and Recycling (40% booked online)
- Van Permits (26% booked online)
- Pest Control (10% booked online)
Map Based Reporting is currently under the final stages of development and is due to be rolled out at the end of September.
The development and roll-in of this project has been very successful and feedback from the public has been very complimentary and by fundamentally changing the way the service works, a significant amount of capacity has been released by the back office staff – improving the service for the public and making cashable savings for the Council.
A number of local authorities have been in touch with us with regard to the learning from this project and we have also undertaken a Learn and Share Event for the All Wales Continuous Improvement Community based on this project.