Key objectives of the My Council Services implementation at Ashford Borough Council
Further move towards customer self-service
We had a previous app that enabled customers to report issues however it didn’t enable them to track progress once an issue had been reported and didn’t offer the level of automation and workflow management that we wanted. The officer had to see what the issue was and then forward it onto a contractor who might then forward it to a partner or a subcontractor. All that work would have to be managed and then reported back to the customer manually. Such processes are now fully automated.
Ben Robinson, Customer Service and Digital Project Manager, Ashford Borough Council
Build a system that worked for both customers and staff
We wanted to make things easier for customers so that they would trust and use the new system, but we also wanted to make sure that it made things easier for our staff as well, so that they wouldn’t get bogged down by mundane admin tasks but could actually do the job they were hired to do.
The key driver behind this project was really to create efficiency so that staff are better able to do their jobs. We’re finding as we look at our processes that there are many areas where things aren’t operating as efficiently as they could be, there’s duplication of effort or redundancy built into the legacy process, so our aim with this project was really to see how technology could help us address those issues and get our staff working more efficiently.
Ashford Council has been measuring and monitoring efficiency gains realised following the implementation of My Council Services. One of the early results from the Environmental Services Team is in relation to the cost of processing and resolving fly tips in the Borough.
Ashford deals with approximately 700 fly tips in each 6 month period. This has been consistent over the previous 36 months. The calculated cost of dealing with each fly tip using the legacy processes (prior to the implementation of My Council Services) was calculated at £90.00 per incident.
The same calculation, over the 2 years that My Council Services has been in place, now puts the cost of dealing with each fly tip at £27.00. This is the result of more efficient working with time and resources saved which has a measurable financial saving. This is a saving in excess of £80,000.00 per year. This is just one example in one service area.
Meet customers’ expectations
Channel shift has changed. Whereas it used to be about pushing people to interact with councils online as a cost saving measure, it’s now about delivering services digitally because that’s what customers expect and want. The rules have changed and now the majority of people are looking to contact us through digital means whenever possible. They prefer that rather than talking to a person. We know that people want to use our website and contact us via digital channels.