Innovation Exchange

School Meals and Clothing Grants

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Customers eligible for free school meals and clothing grants were required to complete an application and provide proof of benefit. This created significant peaks in demand and high levels of failure demand with customers calling back an average of 2.4 times to check the progress of their application. The project aimed to re‐use information held by the Council and make the best use of technology to streamline  the assessment process and reduce levels of contact.

Theme: Digital

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  • Incremental change with process improved gradually with each phase of the project

  • Phase 1: application process transferred to  the  telephone, assessment of the customer’s eligibility completed by checking benefit information

  • Phase 2: pre‐eligibility checks carried out using Benefits information and an online process implemented. Online process incentivised for customers

  • Phase 3: technical integration between the Benefits system, SEEMIS and Lagan CRM. Customer eligibility is checked on the Benefit system and fed into SEEMIS to generate payment.  A case created in Lagan provides email updates to the customers advising that their grant has been processed and telling them when their money has been transferred via BACS. The vast majority of grants are now processed with no application from the customer.

  • Phase 4: where there Council does not hold evidence of the proof, the customer can apply using a mobile enabled online form and attach the proof electronically.
  • Majority of customers receive the service through a non‐assisted channel
  • Savings of £20k+ for a single process
  • Reduced time between application and payment
  • Reduction call volumes by 70%
  • 92% of customers said that they were delighted with the service received
  • Proof of concept delivered for integration with SEEMIS, LAGAN and Northgate Benefit.
  • The ability of early benefit realisation through incremental delivery.
  • Use of customer insight is invaluable, information from previous applicants was matched against ACORN data and highlighted the importance of ensuring any online application could be accessed via a smartphone.
  • The email progress notifications were essential in reducing contact.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Esther Gunn-Stewart

Head of Customer and Digital

North Ayrshire Council

01294 324960

Case study added to site: June 2016

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