North West Leicestershire Council covers a district in the East Midlands of England which includes 47,000 residences. As an organisation it’s focused on making its services easily accessible for the community as well as providing on-going efficiencies for all departments within the council.
As a result, in recent years the council has put processes in place to encourage and increase digital usage among its external customer base by developing a collection of online forms for a variety of everyday requirements that previously would have required a physical paper form to be posted to customers, filled out and returned. A costly and time-consuming process.
North West Leicestershire Council
How North West Leicestershire Council saved over 200 working days by digitising customer requests with online forms
In 2017, North West Leicestershire created its first basic form for waste which could be accessed online, a topic which was chosen due to it being one of the most frequently accessed services by customers. The form received a lot of engagement and following this success, a specialist team was assembled to upgrade the existing waste form and to identify other forms that would likely be widely used if brought online.
To create and host these forms, North West Leicestershire used a citizen engagement platform, govService, which was supplied by Granicus, a provider of public sector technology solutions.
During the pandemic, the council became aware of the increasing needs of its residents. For example, it needed to process isolation payments for those who were self-isolating and unable to work, as well as the distribution of business grant forms to provide financial relief to local businesses struggling with the pandemic.
Better Service for Customers, Less Work for Staff
Following the govService implementation, North West Leicestershire found its online forms extremely popular with external residents, with online account uptake up to 29,951 in December 2020. In the same year, 37,504 forms were submitted.
The time efficiency of integrating online forms has also been significant, saving roughly 1,641 working hours — equating to 226 working days – allowing council employees to redirect their time into value added tasks.
While the hub has now closed, online forms are continuing to prove as a popular option for residents, with an average of 4,500 submissions per month, waste forms are still at the forefront of usage accounting for 57% of monthly submissions.
The council has exemplified how online forms can considerably increase digital usage in residents, allowing them to submit their requests in the matter of minutes and keep track of communications, while reducing the council’s admin.
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Discover how govService can save your staff time and money while empowering residents with trustworthy self-service options.
online forms available for service users
Digitising Forms Saves Time and Simplifies Processes
Expanding Digital Services to Meet Resident Needs
working days saved in 2020
forms submitted by external customers in 2020
To address the increased demand, North West Leicestershire decided to utilise its govService platform to quickly create isolation payment and business grant forms that could be easily accessed online, saving valuable time during the crisis.
They were also able to use the platform to introduce a new online hub for residents, focusing specifically on the influx of pandemic-related requests, with a wide range of service topics from replacement bins to nuisance complaints.
Beforehand, all these communications would have involved copious amounts of paper printing as well as outdated and convoluted forms that lacked the clarity for residents. It was evident that this new system would streamline the entire process by making it shorter, clearer, and more accessible – especially given the heightened circumstances of a pandemic.
Digitising these forms by transferring them online was the answer to reducing admin and paperwork for the council and simplifying the process for residents.
The online service is open both externally to customers, who can engage in the self-service, as well as internally to staff members. Crucially, this service is available to access 24/7 meaning customers can transact with the council at a time that suits them.
Easy to use and personalise, the end-to-end service means different departments within the council can insert what they need to. Form-building is low code and consists mostly of stack boxes and drag and click, without the need for any coding knowledge – however support is still available from the Granicus team should the Council want to develop further.
“Digital usage in the community has increased exponentially since the introduction of our online forms. It has made the process more efficient both externally and internally, providing our residents with the opportunity to submit requests immediately, as well as monitor them. It’s all about making things more accessible and giving individuals the choice and power to communicate in whatever way works best for them.
– Kerry Spiers, Customer Experience Team Leader at North West Leicestershire Council
Building the forms has been a smooth process too, allowing all members of the council - regardless of coding knowledge - to get involved in it. Granicus has been very supportive in helping us with our digital transition, being on-hand if we have any questions. The platform has had everything we have needed to be successful in delivering another option for North West Leicestershire.”
Ian Roberts UK Managing Director at Granicus said, “North West Leicestershire is digitally advanced, both as a council and as a community, and is always looking for ways to develop their customer interactions. Partnering with them to digitise important, everyday requests of local citizens, such as for council tax and bin collections, has been a key part of their journey, and we are delighted that Granicus govService has been able to provide them with the tools needed."