Chris, Head of Libraries, Adult Education and Customer and Business Support introduces Blue Badge online applications.

What needed transforming and why?

Before transformation the majority of applicants applied for their Blue Badges on paper. This meant they had to wade through an extensive form, much of which may not apply to their particular circumstances. Online applications were possible but uploading documents and photographs was difficult and customers could not pay.

Who was involved in the transformation project?

Tina Larby and Vanessa Jackson from BASS and Jana Hamrsmidova and Jade Majaba from the Digital Transformation Team worked closely together to test a new online application facility which provided all the additional modules to the customer to complete the application in one go.

What has happened?

Processes were mapped with the team trying to think of every possible exception and difficulty that could arise with a view to developing a solution for each one.

Chris engaged with a number of support groups including the council’s Disability Partnership Board and the Disabled Workers forum.

The team also discussed proposals with current employees who hold Blue Badges. Testing the new system was extensive as it was vital that the new arrangements worked well for our customers.  

Chris explains: “the online system routes customers to the parts relevant to them, making it easier, quicker and overall less daunting”.

We have also ensured that there is a strong ‘assisted digital’ offer for those who really can’t apply online. We can do an application over the telephone, entering details directly into the online system; and we also offer a face-to-face service at Chatham Community Hub.

What affect have the changes had on employees?

  • The staff no longer need to monitor and handle two queues of applications as all are directly submitted into the system
  • Keying of applications has been greatly diminished, except for assisted digital via phone
  • The number of outbound calls to remind customers to do something has decreased, saving a significant amount of time
  • The amount of post handled is minimal compared to prior to go-live
  • All information is in one place, it’s clear at any point to see the progress of an application and to update the customer if required
  • The assessment of some applicants is now closely linked up with the rest of the work of the Admin Hub making things more joined up

There are still some improvements to be made but there have been real capacity benefits felt within the team.   

What affect have the changes had on our customers?

The online form has proved very popular; of course there are those who miss a paper form and we are working very hard to sell those benefits to people and to ensure that no one decides not to apply because they are concerned about going online. 

Some people are automatically eligible for a Blue badge and the speed of the online process is very rapid for those people – it could even be processed the same day, with a few days then required for badge production, which is sent direct to their home address.

Christopher White