North Yorkshire County Council

North Yorkshire County Council

Blue Badge Service Transformation


Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

In 2018 NYCC embarked on a Project to transform the Blue Badge service. We identified much room for improvement due to:

• Poor customer experience.

• Poor online experience resulting in low uptake and high drop-off.

• Disjointed application process.

• Poor online payment platform.

• No short-cut renewal process for people classed as ‘permanently disabled’.

• 4-6 week wait for receipt of badge
Inefficient processes.

• Only 17% applications completed online (vs phone).

• Complications and delays around assessments.

• Delays due to matching payments and chasing evidence.

• Unnecessary assessment processes.

• Receipt of cheques resulting in high processing costs.

• Many customers opting to pay over the phone rather than online.

• Geographically Inconsistent Face to Face offering.

Following significant Business Change analysis NYCC chose to completely redesign the Service through:

• Creating an intuitive online application including screening and scoring tools.

• Systems integration with in-house and DfT systems.

• Redesigned back-office processes

• Creation of a Data dashboard to allow monitoring of service performance and customer behaviour.

• Adherence to NYCC’s Customer and Digital strategies

What are the key achievements?

Through implementing a new Customer platform, badge management system and revised back-office processes the service has achieved:

• Average 92% applications completed online (previously 17%).

• Reduced time for receipt of badge (avg < 10 days previously 4-6 weeks).

• £70k annual savings.

• Efficient process and back office system have eradicated backlogs.

• Improved Customer satisfaction ratings/feedback.

• Streamlined phone process that has removed significant wastage.

• A rich Data Dashboard to monitor service performance and customer behaviour. This has been achieved through:

• Cross functional Project Team (Including Service Team Leader, Project Manager, Solution Analyst, Business Change Officer, UX Designer, Software Developer and Systems Team Officer).

• Alignment to Customer and Digital Strategies.

• Ongoing Customer Engagement and User testing.

• Process engineering.

• Customer journey mapping.

• Automated online decisions.

• User Centric Design and Prototyping.

• Agile Development approach.

• Consistent approach for ‘exceptions’.

• Culture change within the business to support moving customers to the Online channel.

• Creating Face to Face ‘Digital assistance’ model in Libraries to support customers who need it.

What are the key learning points?

The Project Team were key to arriving at the correct outcome through analyzing and challenging in order to arrive at a Proposal that created a compelling Business Case.

The secondment of the Service Team leader onto the Project provided the dedicated input required, allowing timely decisions, and was integral to the service redesign. This was an innovative approach for NYCC and required significant investment and upskilling, but paid off through the success of the end product.

This role also linked to the utilisation of user feedback. Customer Engagement sessions allowed us to challenge existing assumptions about customers, and ask directly what is right for them. The project has provided a best practice way to develop other customer facing services whilst ensuring efficiency and savings. The principles included:

• Start with Customer needs.

• Do less (Reduce spend).

• Design with Data.

• Do the hard work to make it simple for customers.

• Iterate, and use feedback.

• Build for Inclusion.

• Understand Context and always focus on the customer.

• Encourage innovation.

• Be consistent. Use the same language where possible.

• Make things open. Provide clear and honest guidance about services and eligibility.

Additional Comments

This has been an important piece of work for NYCC and has taken learning from our previous Customer related transformation work, and culminated in a feeling of ‘getting it right’ in relation to the end product, and ‘doing things properly’ in terms of the approach. We believe we should win this award due to the approach taken which we feel other organisations may benefit from replicating Using Agile and UX approaches allowed us to keep the customer at the heart of the work, and iteratively focus on the highest priorities. This was done through • using data to develop personas • creating meaningful user stories to form requirements • understanding demand across channels and scenarios • identifying the pain points (for both customers and staff) • Iteration, review and improvement • Using understandable language and patterns The work has led to a minimal impact following the change in government legislation around ‘Hidden Disabilities’ which is likely to see a 20%+ increase in demand. We are now receiving and managing applications under this new category with ease. The next phase of work is to launch the Blue Badge shortcut renewal option for applicable customers to save them from having to answer the same questions again. To ensure we maximize on the investment made, we will now be replicating the approach and learning in the transformation of other customer facing services across the council, in addition to reusing the key components.