The current processes around electoral registration and the annual canvass are both paper driven and resource intensive. As a result, these services are unnecessarily costly to run.
The chance to digitise and potentially automate this service area offers the opportunity to reduce cost, improve the carbon footprint and enhance the customer experience.
The discovery work will incorporate three key areas
- Registering to vote
- In-year changes
- Annual canvass
2. Improved customer experience for the vote
- Election day
- Post election
3. The Candidate Process
- Digitising candidate nominations
- Digitising expense claims
The project will be led in-house utilising existing staff resources where possible
The objective of the discovery project is to produce the documentation outlined in section 5
The key milestones will be as follows:
- Formation of the project team
- Compile project governance and documentation
- Data gathering and research
- Consultation with the public and other key stakeholders
- Analyse findings
- Draw up proposals/solutions
As per section 5, an output from the discovery project will be a full cost analysis of the process. This is believed to be in excess of £120,000
The use of an online platform for electoral registration is another step towards providing a digital Council for citizens. Residents already use digital channels for a number of Council services and more so in their private lives. Resident satisfaction will improve through simple access to a secure and common access point.
Harrow would act as a pilot Authority to test the concept which other Councils could learn from.
An improved customer experience around the election process will potentially improve voting rates and increase community participation in their local area.
If successful, the savings from this initiative will be accessible across all forms of Government – both Local & Central where the process is the same.
The wider use of digital government will increase the use of online services across the Public Sector offering further savings
The Electoral Registration process and annual canvass is the same for all Councils so improvements will benefit all across local and central Government
An output will be a technical diagram showing where integration and robotics can be used to streamline the process across any IT platform.
As a leader in ‘channel shift’ Harrow has hosted over a 100 workshops over the last two years to share best practice. The opportunity to enhance the Electoral Registration process and digitise the Annual Canvass will enable us to continue to offer guidance and assistance to other Councils.
At the end of the Discovery phase, the following outputs would be produced:
- As-is journey map from the customer perspective
- Business flow diagram showing the Council process and interactions
- Financial cost of process with potential for savings
- Technical diagram showing opportunities to integrate systems to prevent double keying and streamline the process.
- Opportunities to increase voter participation
- Customer research analysis
Harrow has a mixed ethnic demographic as follows:
White British – 31%
White Other – 11%
Asian or Asian British – 43%
Black or Black British – 8%
Arab and Other Group – 3%
This affords us the chance to engage with a wide audience of residents to assess the option to digitise the process and to test the opportunities to improve the customer experience and to potentially increase the amount of people opting to vote.
At Harrow, we utilise Experian segmentation data combined with Council-sourced information to gain insight to resident behaviours.
Council data includes service information such as Council Tax, Environmental Services, Housing Benefits, Parking and Housing alongside comprehensive CRM data.
Additional data points are taken from the customer satisfaction index, quality of life survey, Health Survey, Index of Multiple Deprivation, British Crime survey and School Leaver census.
At present over 73% of interactions with the Council take place through customer self-service (89% if including unique web visits). There are over 110,000 active authenticated online accounts throughout the Borough demonstrating that Harrow has an audience receptive to digital engagement.
It is proposed that the discovery will take place through our customer network across our major access channels – face-to-face, telephony and digital.
The research objectives are to
- Assess the willingness to interact with the Local Authority through digital channels throughout the electoral process
- Test the propensity to use a digital process for canvassing and the registering to vote.
In order for the processes to be agreed, it would be helpful to meet/correspond with the relevant team(s) in the Cabinet Office and the Electoral Commission.
Primarily, this would be to ensure that
- An authenticated on-line account can be used for the proposed new processes
- An email or digital post placed on the authenticated on-line account can be sent rather than a physical letter
No funding has been previously been granted for this project in the past.