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Streamlining customer transactions

NLPG Exemplar Award Winner – Best Business Process Transformation 2009: AXESS West Sussex – a partnership of county, district and borough councils across West Sussex.

AXESS West Sussex have dramatically streamlined the process by which street cleaning service requests are received, processed and responded to. This has been done through a combination of specially devised e-forms, the council’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the Local Land and Property Gazetteer, both internal and external Geographic Information System (GIS) maps, and SMS text messaging, together with email and web services.

Designed to deliver one streamlined service transaction type, this project exposed the reporting mechanisms, the back office requirements and the processes required to enable structured data to be passed from the reporter to the service provider without the need for double handling.

The project encouraged the use of self-service channels by the citizen, with information being passed directly to the service provider, who, having resolved the incident, reports closure of the job and links back to the CRM to build transaction knowledge.

Using Blackberry devices, staff in the field record and direct incident reports directly to the responsible officer or contractor, without returning to the office or completing unnecessary paperwork. Incidents that can be resolved at point of reporting are also recorded, reducing the differential between actual jobs completed and those reported through the CRM. The project was funded by Improvement and Efficiency South East.

Outcomes

  • This innovative use of existing technology has delivered measurable cost reductions through the integration of front and back office systems.
  • An estimated £18,500 per annum through the elimination of re-keying data.
  • Lower procurement costs obtained through partnership joint procurement.

This has saved nearly £13,000 in capital costs. – the project has also reduced the cost per transaction by 45%, which, in turn, increases the capacity of the customer contact centre to the value of £2,500 per annum, equivalent to an increased capacity of 13% of one full time employee.

In addition, the cleansing team can concentrate on delivering front line services. An additional productive hour per person per day has been released through the automation of the administrative process. The introduction of mobile working and an increase in the accuracy of transaction reporting from 58% to 90% means the team gets credit for all the work being done. The project has also helped automate and increase the accuracy of reporting of National Indicators 195 (Litter) and 196 (Fly-tipping) to DEFRA, and the delivery of NI14, the reduction of avoidable contact between the community and council.

Although grounded in the delivery of street cleaning services in Crawley, this transformation of customer transactions has resulted in the creation of a ‘SCT Project Delivery Toolkit’, available on request, that can be used by other local authorities to implement similar business process changes underpinned by technology. This, in turn, has directly contributed to the South East Regional Improvement and Efficiency Strategy, promoting skill building and reducing the need for reliance on external consultants.

Key benefits

  • Elected members, the public and council staff have access to the most up-to-date information, providing status reports and painting a picture of street cleaning and fly-tipping incidents across the authority.
  • Staff members feel empowered and engaged, and have an understanding of the ‘end-to-end’ service delivery process, appreciating both their own and others’ roles and responsibilities.
  • Alignment with government strategies, including transformational government.
  • Focusing on the citizen not the ICT supplier, joining up to reduce wasteful duplication and enable personalisation, all grounded with professional project delivery.

Integration of front and back office systems with customer transactions, and the systems used to record and report them have led to a continuous process of data validation and cleansing, resulting in improved data accuracies.

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