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A modern and flexible approach to Blue Badge processing

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IEG4’s Paul Tomlinson outlines how councils can modernise Blue Badge processing

The new GOV.UK Blue Badge system offers an effective central hub for applicants to request Blue Badges online. It is clear and easy to use but it only goes so far. Once an application is made centrally, but without a well-designed local solution, it can leave applicants frustrated by not knowing what is happening to their application - leading to high volumes of calls and inquiries for the local authority to deal with.

In the ‘real world’ too, there will always be local processing differences and dealing with them effectively can be tricky. One of the country’s biggest processors of Blue Badge applications, Kent County Council, for example, has 25 distinct stages to process a new application and within each stage there are a number of possible actions that can be taken.

This could easily lead to more than 100 processing permutations – all of which must be managed within the workflow. The question is, ‘How?’

IEG4 has set out to make life easier for all those involved with Blue Badge applications - driven by our mission: ‘Enabling digital transformation that is simply effective for everyone’.

Our Local Government Blue Badge solution integrates seamlessly with the central GOV.UK Blue Badge application. Central activity is merged with local processing, including digital ‘calls’ to central GOV.UK Verify and GOV.UK Pay during the application process, and the applicant is kept up to date with every action. The result for Kent is that inbound payment-handling call volumes are down by 65 per cent.

But how can we provide a digital solution to fit all sizes of local councils and tailor it to individual needs?

Remove the hurdles from ‘Low Code’ to ‘No Code’.

Some technology and software providers have suggested using a ‘low code’ approach, as this can provide a lot of flexibility.

Organisations, however, must have the technical resource at hand to build and maintain low code applications and this is where the technology can fall down. Public finances continue to be tightly squeezed and the luxury of skilled IT resources to do this within local government is becoming rarer.

From the supply side, logic dictates that ‘low code’ solutions almost invariably have a user-base of one and as a result can become unique. The economics for upgrading multiple unique systems is challenging, as when each change is made, the complexity of testing and maintaining versions increases.  

The result is that councils are often left with a solution which does what it did when it was designed – but not necessarily what it needs to do when used in action.

Our approach is different. We have removed the technical hurdle of ‘low code’ – enabling users to manage their operations and change what their Blue Badge system does in its workflow themselves, which means there is no external involvement needed.

Put council business owners in control of continuous improvement.

Council solutions could have any number of stages in a workflow with any number of linked assessments and actions. These may change as the system is used and customer feedback gained.

Kent’s solution to this challenge for Blue Badge was to provide non-technical users with the means to adapt workflows and assessments, without reliance on external IT.

Our Digital Blue Badge Case Management System offers councils flexibility, with users being able to: 

  • modify the stages within a workflow;

  • add actions to stages (including the automated issuing of GOV.UK Notify templates);

  • build assessments to capture additional questions that need to be asked;

  • and set which users could view/work on a stage.

This flexibility doesn’t only cater for the different ways in which councils wish to work, changes can also be made based upon applicant feedback or to take into account changes in processing rules or legislation such as changes enabling those with hidden disabilities to now apply to the scheme.

What if councils want to follow a standard process?

Some councils will not have the work volume, or won’t feel the need, to ask further questions of applicants locally to determine eligibility, and for them IEG4 offer a Digital Blue Badge solution to suit these needs. 

Applicants are still provided with a seamless, synchronised service which spans both central and local government processing.

Councils who choose this solution are provided with a single, standard set of questions and workflows that can be used to support their eligibility processing decisions, as well as allowing for enhancements to meet any legislative changes.

IEG4 provide the tools and the flexibility, but we leave it up to each council to decide which Blue Badge processing solution suits them best.

For more information on IEG4’s Local Government Blue Badge solution click here


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