Northern Grampians Shire
NGSC Excels with OpenForms
In November 2016, Northern Grampians Shire Council (NGSC) had 137 downloadable PDF forms for customers to use on their website. Only two of these forms gave residents the ability to submit to the council online. The council's website was basically an information tool.
Over an 18-month period, NGSC used OpenForms to convert their 137 PDF forms to 86 true electronic forms. OpenForms’ Smart Logic helped them significantly cut down the number of forms on their website and digitise 100% of all their online applications. In addition to this, NGSC was able to implement online payments in early 2019, giving their residents a better customer experience.
There are plans for a second round of form reviews, which estimate that the 86 current online forms will be reduced to only 50. "We are focused on creating single application forms for such things as business applications, homebuilding, events and more, rather than what we have traditionally done. In the past, residents would have to interact with several different departments and fill out a form for each, depending on the service they needed. Now, we've consolidated everything, making services available with just one form," said Matthew Tulloch, ICT Facilitation Officer/Web Lead.
For example, booking an event might require forms for event registration, council venue hire, park reserve booking, road closure application and recycling trailer. With Smart Logic, all of these forms will be consolidated into just one, depending on the resident's need. NGSC will be able to replace all of the individual department forms with one single smart form for any type of event, including a major tourism event or public community event. The OpenForm asks the correct questions for what the resident needs and is then sent to the proper council department for processing, giving the resident a single application and one point of contact.
Previously, residents would have to interact with several different departments and fill out a form for each, depending on the service they needed. Now, we've consolidated everything, making services available with just one form.
Schedule 13 fire permits
During a specific time of the year, just after summer, the County Fire Authority allows residents to obtain a permit to burn on their property.
On average, during this short time, there is a high volume of applications, between 150-200. Council does their best to answer each application within just a few days and as you can imagine, the entire process keeps them extremely busy.
In the past, applicants who lived an hour or more from a customer service centre had to travel there to apply for the permit and then wait for it to be posted. Often, this required another trip if the application wasn't approved or the form wasn't filled out correctly.
After making this service digital, with OpenForms, 90% of applicants, chose to apply online and receive permits electronically. This has been a huge time saver for them and has drastically cut down on the time staff was spending at the customer service counter, helping residents and deciphering application information. OpenForms made the entire application process more efficient with required fields to ensure mandatory questions are answered. The best part is that by making the service digital, NGSC can offer electronic permit delivery.
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