CWAC quadruples help with reduced costs

CWAC quadruples help with reduced costs

By Malcolm Gardner

How Cheshire West and Chester Council tackled a fundamental issue they highlighted within their service delivery

Working with the Poverty Truth Commission to highlight factors within the poverty trap

Thanks to a piece of work carried out with the Poverty Truth Commission, Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) discovered that citizens were not able to access the help needed, as they didn’t know it existed, how to apply, or that they would be eligible. This was resulting in many falling deeper into crisis, placing greater demands on the council resources.

CWAC turned to Team Netsol to partner with them to help their most vulnerable access help and apply for a range of services.

The challenge of creating a personalised, single form for citizens, that can manage the council’s range of services, all using differing conditionality

Developing the solution posed real challenges for Team Netsol.  On the surface the requirement seemed straightforward, the council offered a range of services that helped people with leaving care, assistance to make an online benefit application or with debts and budgeting, emergency support, or even employment and training.  The council wanted a single integrated application, that would adapt to the circumstances of the citizen-in-need. At the same time, it would assess that need and ensure that they got the help that was appropriate to their situation.  The challenge was that access to the various support and services were subject to a range of differing conditionality.

The Council approached Team Netsol because they knew that the company offered a unique approach to solving customer access problems

Like any trusted, well established software house, Team Netsol has high-quality development and support staff. They are fully compliant with accessibility, data processing regulations and security requirements needed to produce government compliant integrated forms and administration systems. Team Netsol foster both innovation and a close partnership with their customers to ensure that the applications they produce are robust, simple for the citizen to use and scalable. More importantly, Team Netsol compliment technical expertise with service delivery expertise. People who have worked in the services, with first-hand knowledge of delivering for local and national government departments. They understand what is needed and how to deliver.

Most importantly Team Netsol know your citizens, they have a reputation for understanding how citizens’ access online services and supply data to the council. Their flagship integrated form, BECS Claims, tailors the customer journey seeing 78% of applicants who access the system successfully make a claim for Council Tax Support and get paid in a little as a few days.

More than just a form, the Gethelp solution developed is supporting CWAC to improve the lives of its citizens

BECS GetHelp is the ‘smart form’ that was developed in response to the challenge posed by CWAC council. Proving its role in accessibility, the use by citizens of the GetHelp application initially quadrupled and then quadrupled again.  Crucially, GetHelp was delivering extra help and assistance that the citizen qualified for but had not directly applied for (as they didn’t know the help existed).

Having GetHelp established before Covid and the lockdown restrictions hit meant that CWAC were better positioned than many other councils to manage the additional volume of cases and provide the range of financial support and welfare advice to those who needed it. This flexible tool also helped the council easily transition their staff to working from home. 
As a solution GetHelp had clear outcomes for both the citizen and the council.  All of which were achieved and beyond. This is because, while anyone can knock-up a form in Microsoft, Google, Jadu or any old form builder, it requires experience in service delivery, customer psychology, and knowledge of government regulations to produce digital applications that not just look good, but ensure that 

  • the citizen gets what they need, 
  • are prompted for the appropriate supporting information, 
  • have a tailored question set, 
  • is scalable and secure, able to integrate with other systems, such as document management and back-office software, and 
  • is flexible and future-proof, avoiding further work or cost down the line.

Whether it is producing online discretionary housing payment systems or a digital national census, you can rely on Team Netsol to be a partner committed to making a difference to citizens’ lives.

Work with us (hyperlink to Team Netsol email or the contact us section on the website) to reimagine service delivery together and create better outcomes for your citizens.

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Listen to Susan Taylor from CWAC discuss GetHelp and what it has achieved for the council

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