• led by the Digital Experience Team at Renfrewshire Council

Menu Close

Comparison between the Council’s current and potential future digital experience

""

In this article we’re comparing the current and potential future digital experience for a family moving to Renfrewshire in 4 different situations.

Context: A family moving to Renfrewshire

Chris and Jo Fraser are moving to Erskine (Maincroft, PA8 7AB) with their 5-year-old, Isla.

Their priority is to find out more about local schools, catchment areas and how to enrol their daughter for primary two.

They need to find their bin collection day and they’re not sure what goes in each of their bins, as the bins are different from the ones they had when they lived in Glasgow.

They also need to let the council know that they have moved to the area, for council tax purposes. They plan to set up a direct debit and want to check what discounts and reductions are available.

Situation 1: Step-by-step guide

Chris and Jo are moving to Erskine in a month. One night, Jo uses her phone to find out if Renfrewshire Council provides any guides for people and particularly families that are moving to Renfrewshire.

Current experience

Jo searches for “moving to Renfrewshire” on Google and the first result listed is a page on the council’s website called ‘If your circumstances change’. She clicks on the link and quickly realises that this information is for housing benefits. Jo goes to the homepage of the website to try find a page but can’t see anything relevant. She then uses the website internal search and types “moving to Renfrewshire” but nothing relevant comes up. She gives up and decides to phone the council the next day to get some guidance.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Google
  • Council’s website
  • Phone

Future experience

Jo searches for “moving to Renfrewshire” on Google and the first result listed is a page called “What to do when you move to Renfrewshire” on the council’s website. Jo clicks on the link and finds a list of all the things they need to know and prepare for including council tax, schools, leisure and events.

The information on this page recommends having a resident account that they can use to manage their details and use council services. It says that they can create one before they move. Jo clicks on “Create a resident account” and sets one up for the family.

As this is the first time she logs in to their account, she’s asked a few questions such as if they have moved to Renfrewshire or are about to, if they have children or people they care for in their household, what their interests are (e.g. events, volunteering, sports, etc.), and how they would like the council to share information with them. She’s then redirected to the main page of her account and she thinks it is very similar to when she does her online banking.

The day after Jo creates their resident account, an email is sent to their family email address to welcome them to Renfrewshire with some useful links. The email also talks about a mobile app that residents can download to use some council services in a quicker way. Chris downloads the app on his phone and logs in to see what’s available. He sees he can easily check their bin collection days, request a special uplift, and manage their council tax payments.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Google
  • Council’s website
  • Automated digital communications (email)
  • Council’s mobile app

Situation 2: Enrol their daughter for primary two

Current experience

Chris first searches information on Google and the results listed lead him to the Primary schools page on the public website. This page gives Chris a list of schools but he’s not sure which school he should select. Then Chris goes to the Information for Parents and Carers section and see a link to Changing schools. This information is only for children already enrolled in a Renfrewshire school. He goes back to the previous page and clicks on Sending your child to school. It seems to be the right information, but it gives registration dates for January 2020 and they’ve missed them. There’s nothing on what to do if you are new to the area but there is a number to call and an email so they will have to contact the council in one of these ways.

He spots a link to Find schools in my area and he is taken to a map that seems to be on a different system. He types in their postcode PA8 7AB and selects the box for Non-Denominational Primary and the one for Non-Denominational Primary Catchment. According to the map, they are in the catchment for Rashielea Primary School, but it looks like they are closer to Barsail Primary School. He goes back to the main Primary Schools section to look up these schools. He goes to Barsail first. It has links to the school website and to Education Scotland for inspection reports. There are no available reports for the school though. The same is true for Rashielea Primary.

Based on the location of the schools and some information they’ve managed to get from friends, Chris and Jo think it would be better for them to enrol Isla at Barsail Primary School.

The procedures for submitting a placing request are not clear on the website so Chris decides to phone Children’s services.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Google
  • Council’s website
  • ArcGIS mapping platform
  • Phone

Future experience

One of the welcome emails that Chris and Jo receive has information about enrolling children to primary school with a link to the council’s website.

Chris clicks on this link and goes to a page called “Apply for a primary school place”. At the top of the page, he can search for denominational, non-denominational or Additional Support Needs schools based on their postcode. He types in their postcode and selects non-denominational primary schools. The results say that Rashielea Primary School is in their catchment, but it looks like they are closer to Barsail Primary School. The latest inspection reports are also displayed in the results. Based on the report and location of the schools, Chris and Jo think it would be better to enrol Isla at Barsail Primary School.

Further down the web page, Chris reads more about the procedures for enrolling their child. Although they’ve missed the registration deadline, the information explains what to do if you’ve recently moved and if you want to make a placing request. The page directs them to an online form that can be accessed via their resident account.

Chris starts with the form and is happy to see that some of the details they submitted when creating the account have been pre-populated. This makes it easier for him to submit the request.

Once submitted, an email is sent to their family email address to confirm receipt of their placing request. It also says that the council will inform them on progress in the next couple of weeks.

Ten days later their request has been approved. Chris, who has the council mobile app on his phone, receives a notification letting him know. An email is also sent to them where it explains what the next steps are to prepare Isla for joining the school. This includes information on start date, school meals, clothing grants, and school transport.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Council’s website
  • Council’s mobile app
  • Automated digital communications (email and mobile app notifications)

Situation 3: Find out how bins work in Renfrewshire

Current experience

The family has just moved in and sees that the bins are different than in Glasgow. Jo goes straight to the council’s website to look for information. She types “bin” into the website internal search. There’s a couple of results that look promising: the first one “Bin Collection” and the fourth one “Bins and recycling”. She goes to the top one first. It has a link to check your bin collection day so she follows that. She types in their postcode, selects their address and finds that their bin day is Friday and that the next collection is Brown. She returns to the Bin collection page and go to What should go in each bin?. She searches for details of what goes in the different bins, and finds what they need. On the bin collection page there is one link to “unsubscribe from bin alert” but it is not clear how they can subscribe to email alerts. This is a service that they would be interested in using, at least until they are more familiar with the collections.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Council’s website

Future experience

On a previous visit on the council’s website, Jo and Chris remember that they could see their bin collection calendar when logging in to their resident account on the app. Jo logs in with her mobile and clicks on Bin Collections. There she can see the bin collection calendar for the year and she’s able to set up different types of reminders. She turns on mobile app notifications 24 hours before each collection and downloads a digital format of the calendar so they can get reminders on their voice device.

One morning, Chris and Jo get a brown bin collection reminder for the next day from their voice device. Chris is planning on cutting the grass after work and asks Alexa if grass cuttings can be placed in the brown bin. The voice device answers positively and lists some other items that are accepted in the brown bin.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Council’s mobile app
  • Automated digital communications (mobile app notifications)
  • Voice device

Situation 4: Set up Council Tax

Current experience

Chris and Jo return to the council’s website homepage and this time spot Council Tax under Services. There is a button to “notify us of a change of address” and think that’s what they need. This takes them out to something that looks like a different system called MyAccount and they are asked to Register for MyAccount before continuing. This directs them to a third system which seems to be managed by MyGovScot. Before they decide to register, they click on All services on MyAccount and then Bins and Waste. It looks like they can order a bin calendar and stickers online to help them organise their waste and recycling. When they choose Council Tax, there is an option called “Tell us your address has changed”.

They fill in this form and 10 days later they receive a letter with the details of their council tax. This includes their Council Tax band and methods of payment. They decide to pay with MyAccount. They log in to their account to set up a monthly direct debit and apply for a council tax discount.

While doing so, they’re asked to provide their council tax reference. They’re a bit confused as the letter only provides an account number and house reference. They try both and their account number seems to work.

A month later, they consult their bank account and notice that the first Council Tax payment was made a week ago but does not seem to include any discounts. They log in to MyAccount to see if their discount application has been progressed but there is no information. They send an email to council-tax.finit@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Council’s website
  • MyAccount website
  • MyGovScot website
  • Letter
  • Direct email

Future experience

On her lunch break, Jo decides to set up their Council Tax. She logs in via the council’s website to set up a direct debit. Chris and Jo have already notified the council of their change of address when they enrolled Isla in primary two, and Jo is happy that she does not need to do this again. They’ve already received details of their Council Tax by email and letter with the steps they need to follow to make payments or apply for reductions or discounts.

When setting up the direct debit, the Council Tax reference number and their home address are already pre-populated and she just needs to fill in the payment details. She chooses to pay in different instalments and applies for a discount. A confirmation email is sent to let her know that everything has been set up and that she can consult the progress of their discount application online. A few days later, both Chris and Jo get a notification on their mobile to let them know that the discount application has been granted.

They also receive a notification saying that the first payment has been successfully made. However, there seemed to be an error with the amount and they want to contact the council to double check. While trying to find who to contact on the website, they see that a live chat is available for people that are logged in and decide to try it. They log in and speak with someone from the support team who ensures that their Council Tax and discount details are up to date.

At the end of the chat, Chris and Jo are offered to provide some feedback.

Digital channels and touchpoints used:

  • Council’s website
  • Council’s mobile app
  • Automated digital communications (email and mobile app notifications)
  • Letter
  • Live chat on council’s website
Philippe Fara
Philippe became Digital Experience Manager at Renfrewshire Council in 2019. His mission is to build a trustworthy, reliable and transparent digital experience for the Council.