The pilot project
Test Valley Borough Council has a joint IT service with Winchester City Council. Where it makes sense to do so, the two organisations generally try to align any new systems that they have. As Winchester had already been using My Council Services happily for some time it made sense for Test Valley to also look at My Council Services and so the decision was taken to run a pilot.
An initial pilot was set up with four processes, which all came under the Council’s Environmental Service. This Service was the focus of the pilot because it generates the greatest number of enquiries from customers (except for the revenues and benefits team which has its own dedicated system).
Environmental Service issues were also well suited to the My Council Services pilot because many of the queries that come in are fairly simple such as people wanting to report missed bin collections or requests for shrub and hedge maintenance. These types of enquiries are relatively straightforward and often don’t need to be handled by a person at the end of a telephone line. The My Council Services app makes it quicker and easier to report issues like this as customers don’t have to call the Customer Services team.
The plan was that this would reduce the volume of calls into the contact centre thus enabling the advisors there to focus on more complex issues. There was a soft launch for the My Council Services pilot. The Council decided not to advertise the new system to external customers but instead to set it up on the website with no formal publicity.
The Council was confident that the new system would work well so the decision was taken to switch over completely to My Council Services for the processes being tested rather than run two systems in parallel. The pilot ran for six months during which time the Council tested My Council Services extensively, checking to see how easy it was to set up new processes, amend existing processes and for the customer service team to deal with requests