Building a culture of transformation
The use of low-code at Hertsmere Borough Council has caused a ripple effect throughout the council, with more and more departments coming forward to update their systems and processes.
- Rapid reinvention of processes
- Paper use vastly reduced
- Savings in resource and time
- Productivity improved
Hertsmere Borough Council represents a diverse collection of towns and 80% of its 39 square miles is greenbelt. With attractive living and easy access to London, it has a growing population and the majority of its residents are under 40 years old. Whilst relatively small, and with modest budgets, Hertsmere has big plans.
A catalyst for change
One of the initial drivers in Hertsmere’s digital evolution was its CRM system, which was more than 15 years old and approaching the supplier end of life.
Hertsmere’s team wanted a system they could develop themselves, without additional continuous supplier charges for changes. They wanted to be able to provide an online account for customers, to track case progress, enable interaction via email, SMS and online as well as via the phone.
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A low-code strategy
Low-code offered all the flexibility to do these things. The team at Hertsmere could see low-code would give them end-to-end delivery — and gradually move them from a paper-based system to completely paper-free systems.
They went out to tender and considered a number of options before settling on Liberty Create, our low-code platform. The additional functionality and integration it offers was very appealing to Hertsmere, as well as a single user account, which would enable customers to access any council system.
We started with a waste application, which would cross over to environmental health and reporting fly-tipping. Low-code gave us flexibility, added functionality and enabled us to provide end-to-end delivery. Netcall’s Waste App, available in their AppShare, meant we could see it in action before we made our decision, and eventually made our build dramatically faster and easier.
Removing wasted time from the Waste System
Hertsmere’s first project with Liberty Create was a waste application. The new system enables them to keep their customers informed via SMS after they have reported an issue. Take for example a missed bin collection. As soon the bin is dealt with, an email is fired out, telling the customer it is completed.
Previously, at busy times, customers often made multiple contacts about one issue — creating call queues and some even complaining they couldn’t make contact. Now, customers don’t need to chase, because the council proactively updates the customer.
The removal of duplication has:
- improved the speed of resolving issues
- removed complaints
- moved the department from a paper-based system to a fully electronic and agile process
This application was adapted and extended to include street cleaning and trade bins, as well as missed bin collections.
A positive impact on jobs and staff
It was important to the team at Hertsmere to get staff buy-in on their new systems. The forward-thinking approach was introduced by working together and mentoring. One Netcall team member met with the team at the Hertsmere depot to map out the process with them. The Environment team was also involved in signing off the plan and testing on the test system.
That engagement meant they could see the benefits and understand the plan. Together, Hertsmere and Netcall teams explored issues with the current system, showing staff how these would be eliminated. They could see how much time would be saved for their workloads and how much slicker their operations would become.
We’ve engaged with our team throughout the process, with guidance from Netcall. It’s been instrumental in changing the culture to a more agile electronic way of working. Our staff have gone from wary, to on-board, to super-keen. They want to implement each new system ASAP, supplying ideas and enthusiasm for each of the next projects.
A culture of transformation
There has been a ripple effect throughout the council, with more and more departments coming forward to update their systems and processes.
The culture has changed. By moving from an old fashioned, paper-based system to a more agile electronic system, it has brought our staff on the journey. The Create platform is future-flexible and also provides an opportunity for us to upskill several team members. Plus, the beauty of the AppShare means we can share applications with other councils, making development faster than we could ever have imagined.
Lee Gallagher, Customer Services & Digital Transformation Manager
The next projects on Hertsmere’s agenda are revolutionising their complaints process, freedom of information requests and replacing their e-forms package with a low-code system.
Hertsmere are also fully engaging with Netcall’s Community and AppShare, understanding the advantages they can gain by sharing with other councils. They are happy to share all processes they are building with other councils across the country.
But most importantly, they have benefitted from contact and discussion with other low-code users — being able to download apps for processes similar to theirs.
This speeds up their build time even more. They can start with an accelerator from the AppShare which is 80% finished, leaving them to tweak it to their own processes and branding.