A proposal to make Barnet Council’s online services amongst the best in the country has been approved by the Policy and Resources Committee last night (5 October 2016).
The Customer Transformation Programme will form a vital part of the council’s new Customer Access Strategy which was approved following consultation in June 2016.
The Customer Access Strategy (CAS) identified that while 82 per cent of residents use the internet, the vast majority, 80 per cent, of contact with the council is still by phone. The CAS aims to shift this, with its goal to take 80 per cent of interactions online by 2020.
The CAS will see a £1.5 million investment allowing Barnet Council to adopt a set of recommendations including a revamp of the council’s existing website, improvements to its My Account service, a pilot of ‘self-service only’ services and a digital inclusion programme to support residents to go online. In addition, the programme will improve and simplify telephone access. The CAS will be reviewed after one year to assess the programme and the potential for further investment.
The existing My Account service has attracted over 32,000 users since it was launched last year. It allows residents to access multiple online council services in one place such as rubbish and recycling, reporting environmental problems, council tax and library accounts, and is easy to use and viewable on a number of browsers and mobile devices.
Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, said: “We have listened carefully to the changing expectations of our residents, who we know are used to shopping, booking holidays and banking online. Our job is to keep up with this pace of change whilst not forgetting those residents who cannot use the internet.
“This innovative strategy will allow us to improve the services we provide residents whilst at the same reducing costs.”