Example fund applications – Discovery

These are example forms that illustrate the type of information we would need to receive to be able to properly assess your expression of interest (EOI) or application for a discovery project. Numbers, savings and other figures quoted are used for illustration purposes only. Any products or prototypes used are for illustration purposes only, they are not endorsed by MHCLG in any way and should we receive any EOIs or applications for funding those projects, they will be assessed by an impartial panel the same way as all other applications we may receive.

Context

Green London Council have long been struggling with council tax reduction application forms. They consistently receive large numbers of incomplete or incorrect applications, which puts a massive burden on their already stretched Revenues and Benefits team. By talking to neighbouring boroughs they identified that this is a common problem that three other councils are facing. As this is a service that is delivered nationally, the councils think that more councils might want to join or feed into the project as well.

The 4 councils would like to work together towards resolving the problem, with Green London Council taking the lead towards producing a common solution that can be reused nationwide. The councils have a full-time project manager and two Business Analysts (BAs) for it. Only 1 of the BAs has previously worked on an Agile project, so the team decides that deepening their knowledge of Agile would be beneficial for project delivery.

The project team have not started the work yet, and no research has been done. During the Discovery, the team aims to understand who their service users are, why so many users tend to fill out the forms incorrectly, understand the current limitations of existing policies and their IT infrastructure to changing the service and what the new user journey might look like.

Example expression of interest

Lead authority Green London Council
Partners involved London West Council
London Borough of London
Royal Borough of Greater London
Applicant details Name Role
Jane Doe Digital Transformation Manager
Proposal details Discovery Alpha
Yes No
Q1 : Summary of proposal for the common problem you want to solve

Council Tax Reduction Application

Councils have a duty to collect council tax from all households and to provide council tax reduction of up to 100% to those households that qualify for it.

Often users find it very difficult to understand if they’re eligible for a reduction, how much of a reduction they can expect and what is the application process.

This results in our staff having to spend time explaining this to users and processing applications that do not qualify for a reduction in the first place.

We want to:

  • identify what user groups are most likely to submit an application even though they don’t qualify for a reduction and why
  • understand what options and channels would be most efficient in letting people know about eligibility for the service, accounting for the diversity of London’s population and demographics (languages spoken, residential statuses, property types, household compositions).
  • produce assets that will be reusable by other local authorities. In particular, we aim to produce:
    • A user research report that gives us an understanding about the most effective way to reduce the number of non qualifying applications coming through
    • A report that will highlight pain points in the process
    • A to-be user journey map
Q4. Training requests

We presume that to deliver the Discovery phase we will require the following skills:

  • User research
  • Business Analysis
  • Service Design
  • Project Delivery / Agile

We have secured some internal resources for the project, including a project manager and two full time BAs. However, as the project team is being put together right now, we would benefit from the following training from MHCLG:

  • Crash course of basic Agile training for the whole team (preferably on site)
  • An advanced course of user research and service design for our 2 BAs

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