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At the frontline of service delivery

NLPG Exemplar Award Highly commended – Best business process transformation 2008: Blackpool Council.

Blackpool Council is targeting its street scene officers where they are working - on the streets.

Armed with the latest mobile technology together with supporting communications software and geographical information system (GIS), street scene officers are accessing the centrally held NLPG in real time, helping to accurately log and report incidents or defects, verify residency and entitlement to Council services and improve communication with residents, all without returning to the office.

This adoption of ICT supported mobile working has significantly reduced day-today administration, resulting in tangible increases in operational efficiency and fostering a ‘can do’ attitude amongst the workforce. A forward thinking project, it has also improved the quality of service to and communication with residents, helping realise the council’s vision of a New Blackpool with Stronger Communities.

Outcomes

Blackpool introduced mobile working to support the delivery of services that contribute to the Council’s streetscene service plan. This plan aims to make significant improvements to the quality of services involved in the delivery of key activities around the public realm and environmental aspect of Blackpool. It provides the opportunity to reshape and transform frontline services to improve the physical appearance of the town, create a more skilled and better training workforce and involve the community in the development and maintenance of neighbourhoods.

Maps, created using the Council’s GIS, are loaded onto the handheld devices to aid the recording of incidents in the field. The map display can be updated by ‘dragging and dropping’, it can be set to automatically refresh using a GPS derived location, or referenced to a property queried from the NLPG. In the first two instances, the software references the map logged location to the NLPG returning a list of nearest addresses, even intuitively widening the search radius until at least one possible address is matched.

This real time access to and use of the centrally held and maintained property gazetteer is facilitating improvements in a wide range of services. For example the assisted household waste collection service; using mobile devices officers can verify if an address falls within the borough, log new requests, investigate queries and communicate with contractors. Staff at waste and recycling sites can verify that those wishing to use the facility are residents and therefore entitled to use it. The commercial waste team are maintaining an up to date service database, ensuring compliance with government legislation and can be proactive in the marketing of the service, all based on the NLPG.

Neighbourhood environmental action teams, a fundamental part of the street scene project, have also been established to help improve the quality of communities by helping make them cleaner and safer. This is a top up to regular council service delivery, not a replacement. Teams deal with a range of issues including tidying up, fly tipping, graffiti and minor highways defects. If the teams are unable to take immediate action to resolve a problem, it is logged, using the NLPG powered mobile devices, for further action or investigation.

The teams also have enforcement responsibilities, carrying out first line investigations into issues such as overhanging hedges or fly tipping. Using the handheld devices, the NLPG is queried to match an incident to a specific property and the relevant, personalised correspondence is automatically generated and issued without returning to the office.

Key benefits

  • Effective use of ICT to deliver tangible improvements in services and benefits for citizens, business and staff.
  • Transformation of service delivery through increased operational efficiencies and joined up working, resulting in better value service provision.
  • Connecting with citizens delivering frontline services at the heart of the community in support of the Council’s New Blackpool strategy.
  • Centralised access to additional field information and knowledge, and a proven transformation of working practices.
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