Saturday, March 28, 2015

Automating council transactions

A constituent recently pointed out that, in trying to obtain a permit to allow him to temporarily site a skip on the roadside during house improvements, he was surprised he could not directly apply on-line via the council's website.

As I am keen that constituents are offered as many services on-line as possible (as well as alternative ways for those not wishing to go on-line), I asked the City Council's Head of Transportation why this was not possible on-line and have been advised as follows :

"The current arrangements are that an applicant can access the form from Dundee City Council's web site and print the form to enter the details.

On the form there are notes for guidance for applicants which explain the application can be made in person at Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee.  The fee charge for the required period is also detailed on the application form.   Alternatively the application form and fee can be posted to Dundee House.

Unfortunately at this moment in time you cannot submit the application form or make a payment on line but Network Management are currently working along with IT Software Development Team and Revenues Team to make on-line payments for skip and scaffold applications available."

The City Council's Head of Information Technology further advises :

"Investigations have been undertaken on this requirement. It is one which touches a number of disparate functions and systems within the Council. This includes City Development, Customer Services and Finance. The complexities of the process measured against the number of transactions which occur are the primary reasons why a solution had not been taken forward so far. Work has been concentrated on delivering automated higher volume transactions.

Discussions with wider business colleagues have enabled us to identify a simpler version of the application form. This will enable us to: 

1. Allow online payments of skips. This was the original requirement demanding change.
2. Make the application form an online process as well.

We have scheduled a mid summer timeframe for delivering a solution on this."