When the DfT decided to change the Blue Badge service in 2018, it became a real opportunity to deliver a genuinely innovative and simple to use experience for those applying.
The previous central legacy solution was widely described as 'the most complained about DfT service.'
In February 2019, the new mobile responsive, open API enabled, user centred services went live nationally and have been widely praised since their launch.
On top of this technological change major legislation has been introduced which takes effect in August 2019. Broadly known as 'Hidden Disabilities' this legislation increased the scope of those able to apply significantly at a time when councils are adjusting to the new service.
Reflective of this IEG4 knew it needed to deliver a solution that had automation, integration and channel shift at its heart.
The result of which is the Digital Blue Badge Platform.
One of the most complex elements of a Blue Badge Case Management System (BBCMS) is the fact that each council works slightly differently. This is complex because the steps that users should take (i.e. the workflow) can have huge variety from one council to another. Kent County Council, for example, has 25 distinct stages for new applications, which could be triggered dependent upon the information provided and subsequent assessments undertaken.
More complex still are the outcomes / activities that could take place in each stage were found to be different from one council to another. Some software suppliers have suggested that 'low code' applications could be used.
But at IEG4 we believe in enabling non-technical users to deliver change. It's why we built a workflow builder that allows a user to set up stages, state what happens based upon different outcomes and even set up integration to GOV.UK Notify and Pay WITHOUT ANY CODE.
Our approach at IEG4 is to remove the technical curtain of even ‘low code’. To enable business users to manage their operations and change what the system does in a workflow without the need for IT.
Reduction in calls as a result of self service
More efficient than the previous system
Reduction in cases taking longer than 15 days!
Documents stored in just a few months
One of the most powerful things that exists today in driving efficiency is something called an API (Application Program Interface). An API lets one system talk to another in a secure way and exchange data.
It is a technical function that enables one system to pass information to another or to take information and update a system. Unlike the legacy Blue Badge service the beauty of the new DfT service is that it is rich in APIs. Moreover, in a parallel timeline, the Government's GOV.UK Pay and GOV.UK Notify services are available as APIs too.
These meant HUGE integration and thus AUTOMATION was possible and efficiency SAVINGS are immediate as a result.
But users don't want to know or care about this; they just want their jobs to be easy as possible to do.
That's why, despite our platform integrating bi-directionally to all of the above services, a user is oblivious to it.
We call it invisible integration. We take the complex, the gobbledegook and provide simplicity.
All of these are happening under the hood automagically.
It just works.
With a great online application process comes a rising expectation that their decision will be made quicker.
If a user has a great online experience submitting their application, their natural expectation is that someone is sat working on their application the instant it is submitted. While this could well be the case, some applications e.g. for walking difficulties/hidden disabilities often require assessments, more information or payment still to be made.
To enable a customer's expectation to be clearly set and enforced, we realised a case management system alone would not be enough.
We would need a way for applicants to help the council come to their decisions faster. As well as a way to securely check on the status of their application online too. Especially with the expected increase in applications from August 2019 onwards.
Allowing your customers to check the status of their application, make payments and upload evidence is not just about a great experience for them. It's about them helping you do your job more easily.
Rather than just have charts with counts on how many badges have been issued, we wanted to provide insight to managers that enabled them to:
- plan resources effectively
- monitor and improve performance
For example, using Microsoft PowerBI, we have built a dedicated data warehouse and reporting function that enables managers to see precisely when in a given week, month, quarter, year badges will expire and thus renewals will be required.
Being able to forecast when peaks of work could happen might lead a manager to put a greater focus on channel shift activities so that more customers are doing things themselves rather than council officers chasing documents/taking payments over the phone. Managers can also see exactly how long processes are delayed waiting for evidence/payments and the performance of individual staff members too.
Managers can monitor applications by council ward and report back to members on the effect of the Hidden Disabilities legislation.
Of course our solution has dashboards, which will tell you the information you expect; but we go further to provide a complete platform for service delivery.