Transforming access to council services

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Supporting the council in extending inclusivity and delivering channel shift.

The challenge

There are few technology areas growing as quickly as mobile and increasing numbers of users are regularly using smartphones to access mobile internet content.

Local authorities are still being challenged to improve accessibility to services and mobile is an important part of an improvement plan for online public services.

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC) were looking to extend accessibility to services and provide mobile access to a number of regularly performed tasks; accessing information including content specific to a user’s postcode, making payments, reporting issues and requesting services. The project also needed to be delivered on a restricted budget and provide access to the widest possible user community.

Key points

  • Delivering more accessible and inclusive services
  • Supporting channel shift
  • Delivering efficiency savings

Our solution

Sopra Steria has provided ICT services to Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council since 2006. In addition to the day to day operation of the ICT service, Sopra Steria is also responsible for technical web design and development as well as contributing to a channel shift strategy which includes mobile access.

Working closely with the communications team, Sopra Steria developed and implemented the mobile web solution, which can be accessed from mobile internet phones such as iPhones, android phones, Blackberrys and Nokias.

How we worked together

The user experience is really important for mobile web sites, so one of the first important tasks was to identify the range of services to include in the mobile version of the internet site. Working together the Sopra Steria and council teams identified and prioritised the most regularly used services.

An intuitive structure was developed by grouping service and tasks:

  • Find it
  • Pay it
  • Report it
  • Request it
  • Contact us
  • News

Users are able to set their location, which then personalises content such as bin day, their councillor, leisure services and planning applications. By entering information in easy to complete and submit forms they can report a missed bin collection or request the collection of large items of waste.

The solution is optimised to ensure the mobile website can be delivered from almost all smartphones. The mobile solution also enables customers to text the council rather than email - for example to report graffiti.

Results and benefits

Since being launched in 2013 the number of customers using the mobile web site has grown rapidly, reaching around 6,000. This compares to around 29,000 using the council website.

Mobile internet access is another positive step to achieving Digital by Default and to enabling residents to find information and request services utilising more cost effective access channels. Rather than developing separate applications for mobile devices, Sopra Steria has been able to build on the council's existing investment in CRM and the website and extend reach to mobile internet users.

This new self-service channel is helping to reduce the cost of communicating with local residents and visitors.

Client view

"Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council’s website has been awarded four stars and is listed in the top 20 best websites in the country. Their mobile solution is also commended and reviewed as ‘completely hassle-free’." SOCITM Better Connected 2014