Agenda item

Digital platform implementation and customer access

Objective: Update on the implementation of the digital platform


Darren Knight (Executive Director People and Change)

Sanjay Mistry (Programme Manager)


Discussion paper to follow


Darren Knight, Executive Director Place and Change, told Members that process-mapping across the council had been carried out to analyse various processes and transactions, and the data used to create a business case to invest in new customer technology which would improve customer service, allow more flexibility, ensure efficiency, and make savings.  This included working with Stroud District Council, and joint procurement of the software system Netcall, which was used by one in four local authorities. He added that the plan was to start decommissioning one system – booking a bulky waste collection – in August, and would ultimately result of greater flexibility in deploying resources and better data to plan, forecast and manage demand across the council.

He emphasised that the extension of the digital platform would not exclude face-to-face meetings, but would ultimately allow officers to respond, manage and track enquiries in a more efficient way. 

Sanjay Mistry, Programme Manager, added that using the technology when redesigning processes would ensure that they deliver the expected benefits, and would also improve the authority’s self-sufficiency. Instead of being beholden to software suppliers, it could develop its own abilities and maximise opportunities, making it as efficient as possible and ensuring maximum return on investments. The system was bought in December, and after 12 weeks of training and implementation, the council was close to delivering the first development process which would allow it to delete the existing platform. CBC was one of three councils (together with Tewkesbury and Stroud) in the county using the technology, and would work in close partnership with the others, to share learnings and development and accelerate the roll-out.  Darren Knight confirmed that this meant more could be done in-house, led by Sanjay and his team of analysts, who were experts in process mapping and process redesign. 

Members thanked the officers for an interesting and detailed report. In response to Member questions, officers stated that:

-          cyber security and risk were not included in the report but, having seen the impact on other councils, were at the forefront of all thinking.  Officers would be happy to pick this up offline or in exempt session, and go through all the details in terms of monitoring and how the council would react if there was an issue and it couldn’t use technology for a period of time;

-          to ensure the design not only looked good and provided flows and utility needs but was actually intuitive and engaging for real users, the plan was to set up a resident group which would come and test the technology in an observational setting, so any frustrations with the system could be corrected. The group would be as diverse as possible;

-          once a process was set up and running, it would always need ongoing maintenance and review, and officers were working to build the capacity and capability of the team to ensure this, and they were currently advertising for a business analyst. To ensure continuous improvement as technology moves forwards, the team would work closely with service managers, keep track on latest developments in technology, and keep looking for opportunities to refine and improve the processes;

-          Engage software was an insightful and intuitive system which would be used to map any changes in the process, model the impact of any change with regard to cost and efficiency;

The Chair added that the council had clearly invested heavily in Netcall, justified in the report by the resultant single resident record and ‘one stop shop’ experience for residents.  He wondered whether the new system integrated with Clearview, now or in the future, which currently monitors all aspects of the council’s work.  Darren Knight said that these two systems were not integrated - priority at the moment was integration with Yotta, the in-cab technology system used by UBICO – but at some point in the future the data from Netcall call would be fed into Clearview to update performance indicators. Sanjay Mistry added that the single customer record was pivotal, and the council was looking to launch a self-service portal whereby customers can monitor their own interaction with the council at any time to suit them.  The Revenues and Benefits team carried out a successful update a couple of years ago, using Netcall as a gateway to the website.  Officers confirmed that the system had inbuilt GDPR compliance, and anyone could remove themselves at any time.

The Chair thanked officers for their input.


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