With over 4,500 Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) members, we see a huge range of uses for OS data in the public sector, making efficiency and cost savings. One of our PSMA members, Harrow Council, recently won a prestigious MJ award ‘Innovation in Channel Shift’ for their MyHarrow website, which uses OS maps.
Like many Local Authorities, Harrow Council is facing steep financial challenges, needing to reduce net expenditure by £83 million by 2019-20. To make further savings, equating to 25% of the budget, the Council needed to deliver not only new technology for customers to access services more efficiently, but to change customer behaviour and move away from telephony-based customer service.
Their MyHarrow site launched in 2011 and has grown to over 80,000 account holders. The site is available 24/7 allowing customers to access a range of council services including council tax, housing benefits, housing rents and local information such as bin collection days and planning applications in their neighbourhoods. Since the site launch, the Council has successfully managed to increase customer satisfaction and reduce the time it takes to resolve queries.
Like many Councils, Harrow promotes a clean and safe borough and asks residents to report any issues such as fly tipping, graffiti and abandoned vehicles. Harrow recognised an issue with identifying the exact location of these incidents, due to the lack of detail from their initial map supplier. Striving to improve their service, Harrow resolved the issue by using OS maps on their website instead. The detail on our maps gave greater clarity on the exact location of the incident.
In all, migrating visiting customers to transact online has helped reduce face to face demand by 71%, and enabled the Council to make savings. Now, 90 per cent of enquires that would have been handled through their call centre are processed more quickly and easily online.
The MJ award is given to councils who make it easier for residents to access council services online. The judges were impressed with the range of services available securely through My Harrow account and that residents could get support, advice and help on opening an account and using the site from MyHarrow account super users.
Find out more about the PSMA on our website.