Wigan Council

Wigan Council

Digital Waste Recycling Centre Permits


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

Wigan Council’s Waste Services department was set the challenge to transform how the council delivers its Waste Recycling Centre Permits scheme to provide a faster and more user friendly experience. We want our residents to recycle more and recycle right.

Working collaboratively Waste Services alongside ICT Transformation colleagues aimed to develop a fully digital end to end solution to manage the application process for Recycling Permits for borough residents. Our innovative approach to redesigning the service and providing a digital tool, meant we offered residents a 24/7 fully accessible service with a richer improved customer experience. Customers now receive their permit within minutes of completing the application form online, at a time of their choosing, which can be activated and used the same day – No more waiting for the postman to deliver a permit before they can recycle their waste.

Wigan Council have a Digital First approach to providing our council services and offering our residents online access to key services using our MyAccount Platform. The new digital process replaces the existing paper permit system which meant customers had to plan ahead and allow up to 5 days before they received their waste permit.

What are the key achievements?

• Improved Customer Experience o We have received 3565 online applications since going live (17th July to 11th September 2019) o The number of paper permits issued in the last year for 2018/19 was 12273. o Waste Permits can be requested and delivered in real time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week o Digital process offers a ’5 minute’ process in place of 5 working day paper process o Permits can be digitally enabled on their Smartphones via QR codes or they can be printed at home by the resident if they prefer.

• Improved Back Office Processes o Seamless digital integration between contractor and council service team o Real time digital updates to show permit has been used/expired o Removes paper, postage costs and reduces administration costs for council back office team – estimated cost avoidance of 15k annually.

• Improved Business Intelligence for Service o Supports metrics capture for residents use of waste sites o Strengthens trend analysis of recycling and waste types o Enables capture of quality measurements for service provision • Waste Enforcement Measures are Supported by providing the tools to monitor the digital permits, preventing illegal trade waste from Landlords/Trader.

What are the key learning points?

To deliver the project it was important to have a dedicated project team who had specific roles and responsibilities. Collaboration and communication are key to ensure we designed a solution in which we were able to fully understand the service requirements and document the intended outcomes whilst working closely with the representative from the IT contractor to ensure our processes aligned and any inter-dependencies where picked up and managed.

One of the key learning outcomes from the successful delivery of the Digital Permit scheme is the project lays the platform for on boarding other permittable services.

Key learning from the project including the following:

• Clear and effective comms planning to ensure all stakeholders are up to date, aware of the proposed changes and key dates.

• Clear understanding of project roles and responsibilities.

• Keep things simple – think digital first

• Extensive UAT testing by back office and front-end users to ensure process are robust and working as expected.

• Colleagues available on go live day to address any issues should they arise.

• Capture feedback from all users to continually develop and meet the needs of the service.

Additional Comments

If residents do not have access to a computer or mobile device, they can visit one of the council Life Centres in Wigan or Leigh or any one of the Council’s libraries to order and print their waste permit. All residents need is an email address to register. Permits can be applied for on the same day residents wish to take their waste to the recycling centre and if an application is successful the resident will receive an email updating them that their application is being processes followed by another email contain their permit as a scannable QR code.

If a permit application is unsuccessful a resident can choose to appeal the decision or cancel their permit application. Wigan Council and its contractors FCC Environment operate a Recycling Centre access policy. This policy helps to reduce congestion, increase site safety and prevent the illegal deposition of trade waste at the centres.

The new system supports the council strategy to deliver high quality services that are accessible, timely and demonstrate value for money. Also, this contributes to the Environment directorate aim to ensure our services are digitally confident, utilising the latest technologies and innovation to deliver continuous improvement. The project demonstrates Wigan’s commitment to ensuring the BeWigan behaviours are embedded in everything we do; our staff feel valued and empowered to innovate and try new ways of working to deliver the best possible service to our residents.