Customer Service Programme Sprint Note #2 and #3

  • week ending 02 June 2023

The journey continues as the team works hard with services to meet the vision of providing a consistent and quality customer experience for our users; Sprint note 2 and 3 gives an insight into the work to improve the customer journey since the sprint 1 update. We want to make sure we are open with the work we are doing and hopefully this provides you with a good snapshot of the different workstreams currently underway.

Please reach out to the team if you wish to speak with us about the work we are doing. We would be very happy to bring this work to service areas across the council through a lunch and learn or similar activity.
Contact: [email protected]

Customer Panel

This month the customer panel begun a review of their terms of reference and agreed the time was right to iterate and undertake a refresh of our panel membership to ensure it remains reflective of our diverse city; and ensure a broad range of customers are given the opportunity to have their voices heard and help inform service redesign.

The Panel have been busy and as well as their insights featuring in the Voice Automation Discovery findings, they are excited to roll up their sleeves on a new assignment and start testing the new online application process for the Child Employment Service, providing user feedback on the prototypes helping to ensure the new build is fit for purpose and meets user needs.

Voice Automation

Working closely with Price Waterhouse Coopers team, the first iteration of the Voice Automation discovery findings was presented to Financial Sustainability Board last month. With the subsequent recommendation to further refine the findings, amending the scope to cover both the opportunities and costs of voice automation in isolation as well as in the context of the upcoming contact centre platform procurement. So, we’re currently taking a deeper look at the services, ruling out ones that perhaps aren’t suitable for voice automation, and confirming what data is still needed to get the full picture. We will also be planning several engagement sessions in the coming months, to give contact centre staff an opportunity to see what life would be like if voice automation was deployed in BCC.

Culture Change

The programme warmly thanks Sarah May for her leadership on the culture change work over the last 12 months as she moves on to a new role in the Corporate Contact Centre. However, Sarah’s departure does not mean the culture change work stops, and following agreement at Operational Governance Board on 1st June, People Services will now lead on this workstream and collaborate with the team to refine the priorities for phase 2, focused on:

  • targeted engagement of the 50% of staff who did not attend a Customer Standards Workshop in phase 1
  • face to face roll out of the offline customer standards resource to offline staff
  • Senior Manager-led discussions on what good customer service looks like, embedding a best-in-class mindset.

Child Employment

We launched the recruitment of user research participants, after developing the research plan, communication plan and consent form. The first round of user testing took place during the week commencing 12th June. We continued desk research, focusing on research into chaperone applicant training to explore platforms currently used to deliver the training, understand the current offer based on previous research and get familiar with legislative requirements.

The first low fidelity prototypes have been developed in conjunction with the content experts with the aim of testing the Chaperone application journey with users to ensure it is fit for purpose before being built into the live tech solution.

Figma wireframe extract of chaperone journey

Content Team

The content workstream continues to focus on the redesign of the content on the website in line with the GDS standards. An approach for how best to complete the website content audit and redesign has been agreed, as we will aim to resolve the following areas in order:

  • Revenues – Council Tax and Business Rates
  • Benefits
  • Parks
  • Environmental Health

Introductory audit sessions have been completed against these areas to understand how the site is configured for each individual section so that we can work with the subject matter experts to provide the best user journey possible as an outcome of the site design.


We continue to work on the content design for memorials, implementing 20 digital forms with advanced payment functionality to give customers the option to select a motif for a memorial, upload their own designs and to pay online.


The team’s content designers continue to work with the service leads to iterate the selective licensing content based on feedback from users (landlord and agents) as the date of the change in legislation arrived (5 June) and numbers of visitors to the pages increased.

In other areas of the service, succeeding to a tenancy and assigning a tenancy made live as well as Home Visits and Mobility Assessments to name a few. The team continues to work through the 380 pages in scope for Housing with the Resident involvement pages developed and awaiting publishing to the live site; and pair writing in progress for Pay your rent.

Domestic Abuse

Completed rewrites and improvements to the domestic abuse advice pages, working with various teams across BCC to bring material together and eliminate repetition. Bearing in mind many of the users may be in crisis, it was important to make some of the material more direct, easier to scan and more effective at providing assistance quickly for people looking for urgent help.

Governance and Controls

In establishing the cadence for Phase 2, the programme underwent a refresh of both the Operational Governance Board and Steering Committee. This included a review of the terms of reference and membership to ensure alignment with the programme’s scope of work is maintained and we have the right strategic support to champion service improvements and drive adoption at a Directorate level. The Operational Board met on 01-June and will continue to meet monthly, and the Steering Committee will convene quarterly with the first session scheduled for 03-July.

Corporate Programme monitoring continues with monthly reporting into the CPMO Fit for Future Portfolio, with the Voice Automation workstream reporting into the Financial Sustainability Programme. Both programmes are currently risk-rated as ‘Amber’, Customer Service Programme with ‘a neutral direction of travel’ and Voice Automation ‘an improving direction of travel’.

We have also entered into another round of Co-ordinating Overview and Scrutiny Committee Task and Finish Groups, to provide Members with a status update on the findings and recommendations from the Discovery work the programme conducted with customers in Spring 2022. The user research sought to understand the customer experience across high demand services accessed digitally and offline; and resulting insights and recommendations to increase/improve customer satisfaction presented to service leads in Housing Repairs, Waste Management, Bereavement Services and Highway Repairs. In this second round of updates, OSC Members want to know what progress has been made against the implementation of the recommendations, and this activity will culminate in an Executive Report tabled at Co-ordinating OSC in July.

Housing Tenant Satisfaction

Hot on the heels of the completion of the Voids Policy Review which Housing service leads will now go on to develop the business case for funding; the team has kicked off another piece of work with Housing Management focussing on tenant satisfaction. Building on the earlier discovery work, we have now moved into an alpha phase to prototype and test the ability to measure and track tenant satisfaction across a number of priority areas and provide an additional layer of insight for the service to respond to the regulatory notice challenge.

Lettings, Allocations & Voids and Estate Services have been agreed as the first priority areas the team will tackle, working closely with our service product manager on the functionality/capability/constraints of the technical solution; and understanding from our tenants how and when they want to provide feedback, which will all inform the service design of the future state for testing with users.

Show and Tell

The Programme team look forward to sharing an update to the the wider council at a Show and Tell on the 29th June, showing the incredible work within the Children’s Employment area. We are excited to be joined by Heads of Service Tracey Linton and Viki Sullivan who will share a strategic overview and share their perspectives on the work done to date.

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