The aim of this working group was to do an end-to-end review of the Blue Badge service and seek opportunities to improve the customer experience.
To this end, over a three-month period, officers from diverse backgrounds and perspectives committed up to two hours of their time per week to help identify and tackle any problems with the service experienced by many Welsh councils.
The group had contribution by officers from:
- Rhondda Cynon Taff
The group started by each communicating the kind of positive change they envisaged resulting from the outputs of the working group.
Next it reduced these visions into a set of manageable themes which were then converted into a problem question which if answered would go towards making the vision a reality. The team came up with two problem questions:
- What steps need to be taken to create a consistent Blue Badge application process across Wales?
- What steps need to be taken to simplify the Blue Badge application process so that customers are most likely to complete their application on the first attempt and with minimal hassle?
Following discussion, the group decided to focus on problem question two.
Next it mapped out the steps required to answer the question, which it visualised via a flowchart that started with identifying the key players effected and the activities necessary to simplify the process by being able to automate a meaningful total of application approvals.
The group went on to identify several key improvement areas within the customer journey:
- Improve the photo upload process
- Automate elements of the badge renewal process
- Remove ambiguity from Welsh Government guidelines related to scoring/awarding applications.
It was agreed the biggest ‘win’ would be to improve the photo upload process, which research showed nearly half of which required some intervention from the back-office team to make usable.
The type and effort involved in this intervention varied from having to switch an uploaded picture from landscape to portrait (a few minutes to fix) to removing distracting items (10 minutes to 30 minutes). When photos were not of a high enough quality to be fixed the back-office team often spent up to an hour helping the customer source/take a suitable new photo.
Improving the way customer photos are handled
- Department of Transport team investigate developing a photo-at-source checking/uploading facility (like passport photo approach) via its delivery partner Valtech.
- Local authorities provide back-office teams with better photo editing tools and training in their use.
Automating elements of the blue badge review renewal process
- Add Chatbot checks at the start of the process to make sure that customer has all the information ready and in the right format (Caerphilly Council is already working on this).
Removing ambiguity from Welsh Government guidelines
- Remove ambiguity i.e., make it crystal clear why or why not a Blue Badge award should be made.
A special thanks to the working group contributors: Amanda Owens, Amanda Southall, Andrew Meredith, Andrew Saunders, Bernadette Dolan, Ceri Conley, Jane Williams, Joanne Allen, Joanne Parry, Julie Bellis, Lisa Edwards, Lisa Rosser, Neil Howells, Rebecca Devey, and Sara Jones.