The Highland Council is working with a supplier to help it enhance service provision for residents and promote greater adoption of online services with a new online customer portal.
Channel shift company Firmstep has deployed its customer experience platform at the Scottish local authority as part of the Highland’s digital strategy for access to services.
The council is aiming to improve the way it handles requests, reporting and applications from residents, as well as making its online offering more efficient, accessible and user-friendly.
The programme is also projected to generate around £1.3m in savings over the next four years because it will reduce face-to-face and telephone interactions.
Scotland’s Improvement Service, which works with Scottish councils and their partners to improve efficiency, quality and accountability of public services locally, has supported the launch of the service.
The Highland’s new self-service portals fully integrates with myaccount, a secure sign-in service for online public services in Scotland, enabling single sign-in access and giving Scottish residents a secure, authenticated and convenient way to access online services of eligible public bodies.
“Our previous forms solution did not render effectively on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and struggled with the more advanced forms we wanted to produce,” claimed Highland Council project manager David Moreton.
“This limited functionality was holding the Council back from delivering wider channel shift and offering more services online.
“We needed a platform that would enable us to maximise customer engagement and improve our service offering across all channels, while also integrating with the myaccount service,” he added.
The Highland Council went via the government’s G-Cloud procurement framework to procure its solution from Firmstep, which it claims offered superior functionality and ease of development capabilities for faster channel shift and consistent user experience.
Moreton also praised the company for offering a solution that is also mobile friendly, making the council more accessible than it has been in the past.
“It’s all about making things easier for our residents. For example, once a customer has been fully authenticated via the myaccount portal they will not have to provide proof of identity every time they apply for benefits that are available online,” Moreton claimed.
“We’ve been working towards channel shift for the past few years and with Firmstep’s user-friendly solutions now in place, we believe our residents will buy into it,” he added.