July 16, 2012 -- The London Borough of Harrow’s ‘MyHarrow Account’, a web based information service signposting council services, has increased internet-based contact with the council by 62 per cent; reduced telephone enquiries by 30 per cent and visits to council ‘One-Stop-Shops’ by 17 per cent.
This ‘channel shift’ has seen the cost of individual transactions fall by 65 per cent from £2.33 to £0.77 and the value of payments via the online channel soar to over £720,000 per month. At the same time citizens, businesses and landlords have benefitted from over 80 online services including payments, applications for facilities, licenses, discounts and incident reporting via a simple to use web interface.
The MyHarrow Account has been facilitated through back-end systems integration, not least with the council’s own local address dataset. Over 14 council service delivery systems now utilise this dataset as the sole source for addresses. When a citizen or business logs in to their MyHarrow Account the information pulled from various backend systems is based on that user’s address and the UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number).
The UPRN acts as the key, enabling the MyHarrow Account to display a single view of council services relevant to individual users. As well as its local address dataset, Harrow has used mapping and other data supplied by Ordnance Survey under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). This location information is also used for map based reporting and other services such as enabling residents to view nearby planning applications on a map. Current trends indicate Harrow’s investment in the MyHarrow Account will be recouped in less than a year.
Channel shift and the savings it promises to deliver has been a major aim of transformation initiatives across local authorities for some time. In recent years the increasing availability of broadband and a desire by people to access services online is delivering on the promise with significant Channel shift taking place. In Harrow with its 82 per cent broadband access, citizens, businesses, landlords and tenants have access to council tax and business rates, housing rents, benefits payments, waste collection, parking permits and map based reporting online. The Harrow website is now receiving over 74,000 unique visitors per month and over 7,500 citizens now have a MyHarrow Account.
“The MyHarrow Account is central to our ‘Channel Shift’ strategy,” said Ben Jones, Senior Project Manager, London Borough of Harrow. “Not only does it provide citizens with an attractive, easy to use way of transacting with the council, but also introduces significant efficiencies and savings. It demonstrates our commitment to being an open, accessible and efficient organisation that is here to serve the needs of its citizens using the best technology currently available.”
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