MIB rolls out police helpline service

Motor Insurers' Bureau

Specification and development of a web-based, real-time system 

Background

In 1946 the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) was created to compensate the victims of road accidents in cases where the third party was either uninsured or could not be traced. In 2007 the Motor Insurers' Bureau levy to cover the cost of uninsured and untraced driving in the UK exceeded £380 million. These huge costs are currently funded by motor insurers who all pay a share of MIB's costs, but ultimately it is law-abiding motorists who are footing the bill for these claims via their insurance premiums.

The MIB works in conjunction with a number of partners including the Association of British Insurers, The Judiciary, solicitors, special investigators and the Police to banish uninsured vehicles from Britain's roads. The escalating costs of the non-insurance issue paved the way for the development of the Motor Insurers' Database (MID), which was launched in 2000, is run by the MIB and is used by the Police to identify potential uninsured drivers through its Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology. 

The introduction of the MID meant that police officers were, from December 2005, able to gain electronic access to the database at any time. However, it soon became clear that officers in the field needed more support to positively identify uninsured vehicles before seizing them.

MIB then launched the Police Helpline in April 2007 – a dedicated phone service for police officers to ring if there is any dispute over whether or not a vehicle is insured. In October 2007 – four months ahead of the target date of February 2008 - the helpline was rolled out to all police forces across the UK (except Northern Ireland). The helpline is central to MIB's strategy to combat the problem of uninsured driving in Britain and they chose Sopra Steria to develop the new system.

"It was always clear that with such a vital service we needed total reliability combined with ease of operator use, fast tracking and analysis. Sopra Steria have given us all that, and more, and have now become a key partner in our fight against uninsured driving." Neil Drane, Head of Compliance & Enforcement, MID

Key requirements of the new system

The new Police Helpline system was developed to replace the existing method of recording call data on an Intranet form, which had a number of limitations and simply wasn't equipped to respond to the Police Helpline's long-term needs. In order to meet the challenging timescales for going live, a smooth transition to the new system was vital. The new system was therefore designed with close reference to the existing one to help keep operational disruption and training requirements to a minimum.

Sopra Steria's challenge was to build a system that was:

  • More robust
  • Secure and scalable
  • Fast and user-friendly
  • Able to be implemented as soon as possible

Solution

Sopra Steria worked on site in close collaboration with MIB to specify and develop a web-based, real-time system for MIB in-house use only. The system is available to authorised users on their PC Desktops and allows multiple concurrent users to record call data which is then stored on a central database.

When the Police Helpline receives a call, the call handler opens a new call record that is allocated a unique call reference number, and caller identification takes place to confirm that the call is a valid Police Helpline query. Details of invalid calls are also logged to give complete traceability and to help identify possible misuse of the service.

For valid calls, roadside information from the police officer is recorded to enable the call handler to carry out the investigation. These results are logged in the system and the results of the query are then relayed back to the police officer.

A search function further facilitates call record retrieval for viewing and editing details, and the system also tracks all changes made to call records to provide a full call history.

Benefits

The system offers improved functionality, such as more flexible searching and call updating, as it prompts users to complete mandatory data and select from validated dropdown lists (where appropriate) to support faster data entry and provide more accurate, complete and timely call data.

This enables the Police Helpline Team Leader to maintain a quality service, thus ensuring that incomplete call records are followed up and concluded as soon as possible, which, in turn, helps the MIB team to produce more meaningful management information.

Sopra Steria successfully delivered a Police Helpline system which is much faster and more resilient than its predecessor, and delivers the following benefits:

  • The ability to manage the projected increase in number of calls and call handlers without loss of performance
  • The ability to support extended call centre hours
  • The ability to capture more meaningful and useful data, which leads to better day-to-day operational and management information
  • The creation of a more efficient and effective Police Helpline service

As a result of the implementation of the helpline, Police seizure rates for uninsured vehicles have increased significantly, and this benefit should ultimately extend to the law-abiding public who are currently paying for these claims via their insurance premiums.

Future developments

For over twelve years Sopra Steria has supported various systems for MIB, and when a new system is built or enhanced it is added to the current service definition and new service levels are agreed. A range of MIB systems including their main claims processing system are currently supported by Sopra Steria, who will also continue to work closely with MIB to maintain the Police Helpline system through an Application Management Service agreement.