Helping residents access online services

I’m writing this short blog in the hope that colleagues across the Knowledge Hub might be able to offer some specific and practical examples of helping people access online council services even if they are unable to access the internet for some reason.

Some examples we’ve spotted include people getting help from council staff to fill out all their housing benefit details in an online form, or help for parents applying for free school meals for their children.

Many people reading this will already have been working towards channel shift in their organisations and will have implemented ways for those who have difficulty accessing services and information online to get what they need.

We’re really keen to learn more about what people are doing, so please comment here or send me a direct message if you have something to share.

Thank you.

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5 Comments

CB
Claire Back 8 Years Ago
Hello. I'm not sure about specific examples (although I'm sure there are some) but most libraries will help people to get online and access online council services. Claire
FM
Former Member 8 Years Ago
Hi Liz I think there needs to be a recognition that most Council services, especially transactional ones, are now only accessible on-line. Customer service staff access these electronic channels on behalf of residents who can't access the internet. Therefore, when you ask for examples of where this happens I would point to practically the whole spectrum of services:- benefits, parking permits, libraries, leisure facilities etc. etc. The bigger question is what other methods could be used be assist non internet savvy citizens accessing services rather than relying only on Council staff - who typically won't be there for them during the evening or the weekends which is probably when they'd probably most like to use the service. The question is going to be more relevent if the IDS benefit reforms - which are trailed as being internet only based - come about. Two delivery examples I've seen to assist in this area are partnerships with local supermarkets, where stands can be set up during the busy weekends and also the use of mobile libraies to reach the those people in deeply rural areas where broadband or transport is just not available.
FM
Former Member 8 Years Ago
Westminster City Council has successfuly moved its new parking permit applications from being face to face or postal to online, with assistance from libraries if customers need it. We have 90% of all permits (new, renewal, changes) online. Library staff have been fantastic in supporting customers through what is a complex transactions (scanning and u;loading documents) and use it as an opportunity to promote the library offer including IT training. We continue to investigate ways of improving the customer experience. If anyone has cracked how to make uploading proof documents simple and easy for someone with limited IT experience easy to use I'd love to hear from them
FM
Former Member 8 Years Ago
Rob, You remind me that Westminster City Council were among the first to allow payment for parking meters by mobile phone. Allowing people to access services by mobile phone would go some way to enabling those who can't use the internet Regretably very few services are "mobile phone" ready yet. This could be the next big step. I agree with you about some proof documents - but I'd argue that "proof of identity" for those aceessing services with phones under contract is acceptable (or could be developed to be acceptable). The phone companies have already carried out proof of id for you. As anyone taking out a mobile phone contract will be very aware of - their checks are very rigerous!
Liz Copeland 8 Years Ago
All really helpful, thanks folks. I'll pass this on. Any additional examples or discussion always welcome of course. Thank you.