Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
The increase in Pre-Applications creates additional demands on planning budgets and staff that could be alleviated through an easy-to-use booking system for applicants combined with Skype.
Planning officers can only carry out a limited number of onsite pre-application visits in any one day, particularly given travel times. Agile @HOME is a smart app (from our supplier, Agile Applications), which is currently implemented to provide a visual guide to residents about what can be recycled in their area, where and when collections will take place.
The functionality of Agile@HOME will be extended, initially to enable applicants to book a pre-applications meeting via the app and receive notifications back from the officer.
In stage 2, video functionality will be developed to allow the applicant to show the proposed location and details of their proposed development and share this with the officer over Skype, saving on officer time and travel costs. Having a more “immediate” visual impression of the proposed scope of development will help to streamline the process and provide an improved “customer experience” for the citizen.
Agile@HOME provides us with a platform for the development of new digital services across the council in areas such as building control and public protection.
There has been an increase of 15% in our pre-applications workload in the last year. From discussions internally, we have identified a need for alternative ways to manage the workload and to help improve the customer’s experience of our pre-applications service. The Agile@HOME app has approximately 10,000 resident users in one local authority (with a diverse population and different language groups) which evidences that a smart app concept for booking meetings should meet with acceptance in our user community.
Our findings showed that main blockers in handling pre-applications are:
- Use of jargon – applicants do not understand the questions asked
- Fields not indicated as required – applicants leave fields empty
The ability to share video with them via Skype should help to alleviate this problem.
- Digital and agile awareness
- Introduction to user research
- Introduction to digital business analysis
- Agile for teams