The benefits of low-code for waste automation
Cut out the manual steps and get rid of all the paper in your processes using citizen hub low-code for local government for waste automation. Not only will this improve your customer experience, but also contribute to your green goals too!
Hosted by The Public Sector Digital Transformation Forum, the panel included a number of councils who have had great success in deploying low-code solutions in their waste and recycling services. In the recordings below, the panellists share their experiences and the benefits they have gained.
You’ll also see a short demo of three of the nine modules that are immediately available to download:
- Household Waste Recycling Centre Bookings
- Hazardous Waste
- Garden Waste
Watch the videos below to discover how to re-engineer your waste processes by reusing processes as you’ve never seen it before. And we’ve also included a helpful Q&A below.
Harborough District Council
Harborough Borough Council was suffering from a poor customer experience. Traditionally, they outsourced and therefore had no CRM or ability to create automation. After speaking to customers, they understood the issues they were suffering from. This sparked a digital change programme. Stephen Curtis, Programme Manager, talks us through their journey, discussing the culture change at the Council, as well diving into their garden waste service to demonstrate the power of their new approach.
Tewkesbury Borough Council
We were joined by Amy Adams, Programme Officer, Joe Cole, Digital Developer, and Claire Evans, Corporate Services Manager. Tewkewsbury is the fastest growing district outside of London. As such, their demand is rapidly increasing, so they have turned to digital to help. In this short video, they discuss their move to a low-code strategy. Looking at the drivers, why they chose low-code and how they set up their transformation team.
Hertsmere Borough Council
Hertsmere Borough Council are at the beginning of their low-code journey. Previously, their waste system was paper-based, which was cumbersome and inefficient. Lee Gallagher, Customer Services and Digital Transformation Manager, talks through their move to a fully digital service, discussing why they chose the low-code approach and their process to get their first app live. You can see the app in action, plus he talks through their vision for an online portal with multiple services available for customers.
Ashfield District Council
Ben Evans, Senior Web and Digital Developer, has been critical to the digital evolution which is happening at Ashfield District Council. In this short video, he shares five top tips which he learnt during their digital journey. He looks at everything from the people you need, to the strategy and how to adapt during your journey. His advice includes being agile and being able to respond, as well the importance of communication.
There were a number of questions asked during the event, so you may find this Q&A useful.
Which Revs and Bens systems does Citizen Hub integrate with?
There is an integration with Capita that is used at several council organisations.
What is the difference between low-code and a forms tool that has an API and back end system integration?
While it may appear similar, there are significant differences in these options. When it comes to form tools:
- Forms with APIs and back-office integrations typically have several steps between different legacy tech or vendors.
- Changes to any process functionality typically requires specific skill sets. Or, you’ll need to make a request to the software provider to make the changes. This is often an additional cost to the council. You may also need to wait for a vendor to deliver it as part of their roadmap.
- The processes are designed for aggregate use. This means users need to fit to the vendor recommended flows / ways of working.
Whereas using a low-code solution, such as Liberty Create, encourages multi-disciplinary working.
- A low code implementation will provide the full end-to end solution in a single platform.
- This means that it’s not just a form, but it dynamically links to the business process all the way through. As one process, it keeps agents, supervisors and the customer updated at any point with alerts or information. And it avoids potential points of failure.
- APIs are easy to configure and bi-directional updates keep legacy systems current.
- Forrester has commented that the Liberty Create platform is ideal for both business and devs. You are able to upskill subject matter experts to create and modify the process and the forms themselves.
- With low-code, you work in a fast moving, agile way. Creating a minimal viable product in just days and then iterating changes as the department move forward (see App in a week)
- You are in complete control of what you create. And you have the ability to onward develop for the future.
- And, changes and updates are at zero software costs. You design, you change, you’re in control.
How long did it take to build the waste transactions that you've launched on Netcall, from paper solution to a live process?
In the Hertsmere instance, the full development from the initial sit down to the full system being live took around 3 months.
This included many iterations of development to tweak what was being developed as the solution progressed to what was demonstrated on the presentation. This is one of the benefits of implementing this in a low-code solution.
Hertsmere were able to work in an agile and iterative way. Following a design/build/demonstrate/modify approach ensured that the solution worked for all stakeholders.
Can remote workers work offline, on their tablets?
Yes, it is possible to run any service as an offline solution. In the design of this specific solution (Bulky Waste), the pages would need to be modified slightly to reflect offline working. Any device running the service in an offline capacity would need to run the screens in the Liberty Create Mobile Application.
When automatically booking future multiple appointments, will the system take bank holidays or closure into account?
Yes, the system will always consider any restricted dates which have been set up. This means that it will not book on a restricted date. Instead, where a booking includes automated follow-up bookings (e.g. a visit pattern of 3 bookings with 3 days apart) it will work as follows:
- If one of the follow-up bookings were to fall on a ‘restricted date’ then a booking would be made for the next available date using the rules.
- This might be the following day, alternatively, it may need to be a number of days thereafter. The process will follow your rules on a whether bookings are available on any day of the week or just specific days.
- The subsequent visit would then be automatically updated to take place 3 days from the second booking and not 6 days from the first booking.
Is the bulky waste app used for general rounds i.e. domestic/ trade rounds, or is just used for service requests? If yes, does it integrate into a route optimisation software?
The system demonstrated is currently used by domestic waste, although Hertsmere are implementing a service to manage their trade waste.
There isn’t a current route optimisation software integration. However this is possible. We would pass the collection addresses across to a route optimisation solution and pass back the optimised route for the collection team. The external route optimisation solution capability to integrate would determine any restriction. Not the low-code platform.
Given open integration, optimisation is a useful possibility. The software would then sort the list of collections based on the optimised route to assist the collection team. Alternatively, you could also create the route as a polygon and plot this on a map, using an integration to a mapping platform.
We are interested in integrating MS Power Automate flows (low or no code) with GOSS – any thoughts?
We are not able to comment on what is possible with MS Power Automate and GOSS. What we can say is that Liberty Create includes API capability within the build studio. This allows you to create integrations easily to any third-party application or system without the need to ask for consultants to deliver this at extra cost. With Liberty Create, you get a Business Process flow designer built in, to allow you to develop an end-to-end solution in a single platform.
Do other Liberty Create – Citizen Hub users, validate customers. And if so, how?
Yes, we have some experience of integrating Liberty Create and Citizen Hub with an external validation provider in one of our Scottish customers.
East Lothian Council are using the Scottish MyAccount system to verify their users, to allow them to login to the citizen portal within their Citizen Hub Framework.
Alternatively, where the validation is done within the council, customers can be asked to register to use the portal for sensitive services, such as finance or benefits. The application process can include standard validation questions and a process flow with automated APIs to match internal records such as council tax, address, electoral records and other data. It may also be useful to send a paper letter with a security code for authentication.
Please help me to understand what low-code ‘looks like’ in the back-end. How do you build or configure forms and processes? How much developer skill do you need?
Many low-code platforms are designed to allow business experts sometimes called citizen developers to design and build a service. They do this using forms and processes and case progression.
Simply put there are two main views of the back-end of Liberty Create. These are the actual process map built with the detailed stage-by-stage requirements. And then the layout of the web pages that are used to collect data. Then there are data tables and relationships which are defined in associated screens.
Forrester highlighted that we were best for business and dev. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for business analysts to upskill and begin building.
We do this in several ways:
- The application is designed to be process driven using drag-and-drop components and widgets. With a built test and live production process.
- There is a built-in Test Studio for builders to run tests on their build for end-to-end process success.
- Builders only need to have business process acumen. They do not need coding skills to deliver a robust useful outcome. This includes the integration functionality that uses REST and SOAP APIs for accessing data from other legacy systems.
- Equally devs are not constrained as they have a Code Studio for any bespoke work that is required.
- There is free e-learning for step-by-step own paced learning. In the equivalent of 3 days a business analyst is equipped to build a process such as an IT help desk app. Every graduate completes a task that is moderated before they are certified.
- We also offer class room (virtual) training for this and the advanced course.
- We have an active community with specialist devs to answer questions and help newcomers with their success.