North Kesteven Council has successfully introduced an online application and payment process for subscriptions to its new opt-in Garden Waste Collection Service, using the AchieveForms intelligent online solution from Firmstep.
Developed and launched in just four weeks, the new service uses Firmstep’s AchieveForms to enable local residents to register and pay for their garden waste collection, either online or via telephone, helping the Council to extend its service offering in an efficient and cost effective way.
In the 10 weeks since its launch at the end of February 2013, 25,000 households (over half of those served by the council) have signed up and paid the £25 annual fee for the garden waste service, generating service income of over £625,000 for the Council. 52% of the 25,000 signed up online, reducing the need to recruit extra staff to handle subscriptions by phone. The council also found that 23% of those who signed up online did so from a mobile device, showing the importance to councils of having self-service channels that work on mobiles as well as conventional PCs.
The Garden Waste Collection scheme received Council approval in November 2012, with development of the application process starting in late January 2013. The Council used AchieveForms, integrated with the Council’s Civica payments processing system, Civica APP Flare environmental services system and Property Gazetteer, to ensure matching to correct addresses for bin collections. Customers were able to subscribe to the service from late February. The new opt-in service was marketed by direct letter to every household and via local newspapers and media.
Karey Barnshaw, Customer Engagement Manager at North Kesteven Council, said: “With the ending of the central Government grant for operating garden waste collection services, we wanted to introduce an opt-in service for those people who wished to continue having waste collections. We also wanted to make this service as efficient and accessible as possible for residents, to encourage sign-up.
“We had seen demonstrations of Firmstep’s solutions, and were aware of neighbouring councils’ use of AchieveForms. By using the solution for our opt-in garden waste collection scheme, the Council has been able to deliver a new service in record time, and generate income to support the continued delivery of that service for the benefit of residents.”
Following the success of the service, North Kesteven Council now plans to extend its use of AchieveForms to facilitate channel shift in other key services, beginning with the collection of bulk waste.
AchieveForms is the market leading e-forms solution for local government, enabling agile, rapid development and deployment of robust, powerful online forms with automated workflow features, and is part of the suite of solutions delivered on the Firmstep Platform. With its unique integration capabilities, Firmstep’s Platform links to any council back-office system, giving easy, open access to data with no need for complex programming or system changes. This helps councils and local authorities to quickly roll out solutions that meet customer service expectations and successfully achieve channel shift.