At Luton, as at many councils, the process for disabled travel is delivered manually. 50% of applications are on a paper form and the process is slow. It could be automated in a number of ways:
- Automation of applications with a purely online portal, with telephone and online support
- Automated decision making for those with clear eligibility
- Automated decision making against a set of criteria
- Online appointment booking for an occupational therapist, to reduce missed appointments and increase customer choice
- Verification checks undertaken by OTs
- Integration with BBIS to issue Blue badges
- Process designed to for disabled people to make it more accessible
- Self access to data
This would meet the LDD by:
- Providing a service for customers that meets their needs, allowing a quicker more stream lined application
- Challenging current digital delivery by requiring a higher level of design and information for disabled customers to fully utilise the software
- Protect citizen’s privacy and security by ending the paper based process, while also creating a self service access to often sensitive information held
- Deliver better value for money by reducing manual processes and creating a digital workflow
The introduction of BBIS demonstrated that the government is keen to digitise disability services and that customers are willing to use online applications. There is currently a project underway to improve BBIS, including better integration with local authority systems. Local authorities however, have been slow to take advantage of BBIS and online delivery, relying on manual processes.
As a stand alone service that often only delivers to a few thousand customers in an area (6000 in Luton) it has not been a priority for councils when considering digitisation, often due to concerns about how disabled customers would access the service. The nature of disabled travel also means it is a good choice for developing automated decision making and automatic processes.
The process for application involves sharing health information, and requires a robust process around privacy and data security which is often lacking from current processes. There is also a lack of choice when seeing an occupational therapist which would be solved with online appointments.
Digitising this area will increase citizen choice, empower them in an area that can often feel powerless and provide transparent decision making.
- Introduction to user research
- Introduction to service design
- Introduction to delivery management
- Introduction to product management