- Improved accessibility for residents via omnichannel contact centre
- Collaborated with and mentored by Netcall on first low-code build
- Utilising their existing team to develop new apps and fix processes
- Saving time and money by downloading digital services
- Contributing new service apps to the AppShare for other councils to benefit
- Digital autonomy to drive their own digital journey
Utilising existing talent and time-saving collaboration
Waverley Borough Council is a local government district in Surrey – a rural borough with many older residents and a variation in broadband quality. To support their inclusivity and choice goals, they wanted to provide several easy options for residents to contact the council.
Waverley was initially looking for a new telephony system and CRM and they began using Liberty Converse, our omnichannel contact centre solution, to create a customer service centre.
- It brought together multiple telephony services
- Provided visibility of calls and call waiting times
- Improved accessibility for residents – callers are now directed to the team they need to speak to, quickly and without frustration
- Call recording brought great benefits- understanding complications on specific calls and assisting with agent training and development.
A collaborative route to digital autonomy
The next steps for Waverley were to link their contact centre with a CRM and improve all the back-end processes to smooth out and speed up the progress on each task. They took the decision to expand to Citizen Hub, Netcall’s solution for end-to-end digital local government services.
It uses the Liberty Create low-code software development platform and brings councils together to collaborate and share developments – saving time and money through sharing digital services that have already been developed by other Citizen Hub council users. It can be used to deploy new business applications very fast and Waverley saw it as a way to supercharge their digital transformation.
Starting out with low-code
In 2021, Waverley had a project called ‘Where Work Happens’ exploring the challenges around the pandemic, remote working and flexible utilisation of staff time. They needed to develop a safe way to enable staff to return to their headquarters offices in Godalming, and to introduce hot-desking to reduce the amount of floor space dedicated to desks.
Waverley’s team had recently taken Liberty Create training, but as they hadn’t actually built anything yet in low-code, they needed some support in building an app which would help them to track staff working in the office.
Henry Ascoli, part of Waverley’s Business Transformation Team, began by asking a question on Netcall’s Community Forum. The query was quickly picked up by our Architect Team who recommended downloading the SafeDesk App from the Netcall Community AppShare. SafeDesk™ is a mobile hot-desk booking application that allows users to book desks and meeting rooms within company locations, in a safe, compliant way. Henry wanted to ensure that the application would be very easy for council colleagues to use, so they had ideas for modifying the check-in process to garner better staff engagement.
Time-saving collaboration accelerates transformation
As new Liberty Create users, Henry reached out to Netcall for support on making the adaptations that they wanted. We helped their team to release a version 1 to staff in October 2021, and then after continued improvements, to release a version 2 in March 2022, which included more reporting tools. This has enabled Waverley to analyse office usage and to compare SafeDesk check-ins with swipe card door entry data. This has allowed them to drive further engagement and refinement in how they use the office space.
Netcall provided a ‘safe environment’ to help me develop the skills that I’d learnt in the Liberty Create training course – with their guidance I had the assurance that the fundamentals were correctly in place. They were really patient and I now have the skills and confidence to implement what I’ve learnt on our other Create builds.
We help you, you help us and everybody benefits
The development that Waverley was undertaking with Netcall, allowed us to further refine the functionality of the SafeDesk app version 3. This improved app has now been published back to the AppShare, benefiting other councils (and also other types of organisations). It’s intuitive and simple to use, allowing users to go about their daily business with as little effort and intrusion as possible.
This virtuous circle concept is a proud part of the Netcall philosophy – we encourage collaboration, sharing and re-using to increase digital transformation speed and cost-effectiveness. This concept, along with Netcall’s AppShare and Community, was a major appeal to Linda Frame, Waverley’s IT Manager, when choosing Netcall’s Citizen Hub.
Collaborating and using the AppShare is one of the major positives of the Liberty Platform and Citizen Hub. All local authorities are feeling the same pain points, providing the same services. We’ve shared some of our work with the Netcall Community – we can all benefit from processes that councils up and down the country are implementing.
Linda Frame – IT Manager
Driving continuous improvement with low-code
With the skills they had learned, the team at Waverley now has the power of digital transformation in their own hands. Their digital autonomy gives them the freedom to use low-code to work on many other projects. Using their own development skills and the Citizen Hub resources, they have developed:
- A request for information system for subject access requests – transforming work processes which relied on emails and inboxes to a new system which encompasses the entire process
- A performance agreement application – which has been well received for making the appraisal system simple and efficient
- Systematically replacing a limited eForms system – to reduce overheads and bring control in-house
- A new garden waste system – that automates a massive unwieldy process which generated a huge number of calls, to create one which now needs very little intervention from administration officers and offers tracking and visibility on progress
- A ‘Check my Rent’ – an account service for council housing, replacing a service that carried third party costs. This can be built on to add more customer engagement, for example developing a ‘Check my council tax’ service
- A missed bins service which can be developed further to add a ‘check my bin day’ function
- Using the Nest Customer Support accelerator (also available in AppShare) to develop an IT service desk application.
With Liberty Create, the flexibility and the ability for our own staff to update things very quickly if we need to is crucial. The power is in our hands and we are free from suppliers’ timescales and costs to make the specific changes that we want.
Henry Ascoli – Digital Customer Experience and Website Manager
With budget pressures, we need to take a different view of how we can deliver services in future and low-code is working well for us. The huge potential of Liberty Create is that it offers us a platform that our staff can use to create what they need, now and in the future. We’ve found that the more we map out each customer journey upfront, and give the builders accurate information, the quicker the build progresses.
How do residents benefit from Waverley’s digital metamorphosis?
Digital contact has been offered to Waverley’s residents for many years and the council see it as a priority to improve accessibility and give greater visibility to their residents. Much of the work that they are undertaking using Citizen Hub, is geared towards improving and automating their back-end processes. They can see the great benefits of freeing their staff from processing forms to do the rest of their jobs, providing more time and service to residents.
Henry’s remit has been extended to help the council to ensure easy resident interactions across the council, in his new role as Digital Customer Experience and Website Manager.
They aim to achieve two / three clicks to take a resident where they need to go and to provide visibility on the progress of their request. This avoids residents having to call again for updates, freeing staff time and therefore offers further efficiency savings.
Consistency across channels is also an important ambition at Waverley, enabling residents to interact with them in the way and time that suits them. Waverley want to provide service consistency regardless of the channel that’s chosen.
The digital future for Waverley
The next steps in Waverley’s digital transformation journey are looking at how they can use Liberty Connect and chat bots, so that they can open up new channels for their residents to engage and get the answers they need, fast.
Linda is also excited for the possibilities that Liberty RPA offers the council in negating some third party supplier charges for APIs, as well as easily enabling data integrations that have previously been impossible to achieve. This will greatly reduce manual re-keying for staff – mundane work which can be prone to errors. Waverley intend to look at how automation and artificial intelligence can support them in eliminating those problems.