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At the heart of a virtual regeneration

NLPG Exemplar Award: Highly Commended – ‘Best Business Process Transformation’ 2007: Blackpool Council.

Blackpool Council’s LLPG is at the heart of a number of community driven transformational services designed to improve community life within the Borough and develop and foster stronger communities in Britain’s most popular holiday destination. While Blackpool’s Master Plan delivers physical change to the northwest seaside town; Blackpool’s eCommunity strives to develop virtual regeneration in partnership with other public sector organisations, private business, education and voluntary stakeholders.

Blackpool has understood and made a commitment to the NLPG, dovetailing it into local council ICT strategy, the local eGovernment and online service delivery agenda and the development of a community learning and service strategy for the borough.

Blackpool’s virtual regeneration includes specific community driven projects designed to encourage choice, collaboration, co-operation and creativity.

Outcomes

Blackpool4Me, a unique community interaction model, uses the NLPG to provide evidence of usage in order to secure funding from the European Regional Development Fund. Part of the I-CAN (Interactive Community Access Network) project, the initiative provides a rich source of up to date community information while empowering and supporting local organisations by encouraging them to create, maintain and share their own information online.

Another initiative that forms part of Blackpool’s goal for stronger communities is the council’s Customer First programme. The Customer First Initiative is a key council priority as a Community Plan Negotiated Action to improve the accessibility and quality of all council services and a key driver in making ‘one Blackpool, one council’ a reality. The Customer First Service, borne out of the Customer First Initiative, is designed to develop a quality information and advice service providing a single point of contact and enquiry resolution for residents, service users, businesses and visitors to Blackpool. It also includes a centralised call centre with CRM software, centralised Customer First Contact centre and online enquiry facility. Blackpool’s LLPG data is an intrinsic component for the succesful implementation and delivery of both programmes.

Blackpool ‘Where I live and work’ is an online search facility providing residents, businesses and visitors to the town with access to an array of council service information and local amenities. Using the LLPG data, partial addresses or postcodes entered into the online search facility are compared against the LLPG data for a match. The geographical/positional component of the LLPG is used to locate the nearest amenity or service or to provide links to relevant council databases or external sites. Returned information is displayed either in text form or in an online mapping window.

Key benefits

  • Blackpool has clearly understood the importance of dovetailing the NLPG into local council ICT strategy, the local eGovernment and online service delivery agenda and the development of a community learning and service strategies for the area.
  • With a range of transformational services, such as Blackpool4Me, Customer First and Where I Live and Work, all built around the LLPG, Blackpool has shown creativity and innovation combined with technical excellence and an overriding ethic that places the needs of the customer first.
  • Use of the LLPG has secured ongoing funding from European Regional Development Fund for the multiaward nominated Blackpool4Me initiative and achieved additional external funding for the council’s Where I Live and Work online search facility.
  • Blackpool4Me received a nomination for the 2006 New Statesmen New Media Awards and made the regional heats of the 2006 Digital Challenge Award, while Blackpool’s Customer First Programme was shortlisted for the 2007 Intellect, Socitm and SOLACE Local Government IT Excellence Awards.
  • Blackpool’s Customer First thinking is transforming the design and management of service to its customers. This has lead to an improved satisfaction rating, lowest cost to deliver and motivated workforce. All of which helped the council to achieve an ‘improving strongly’ and increase from 2 to 3 stars in the Audit Commission’s 2007 annual CPA.
  • The LLPG powered Where I Live and Work facility has further increased customer service levels, reduced the administrative resource required to answer queries from residents and helped Blackpool meet eGovernment targets.
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