A digital service is more than an application

During Discovery we started work on a ‘School Admissions’ digital service. We had identified a service area where there was high usage but also a high volume of customer contact, and we set about examining why this was and identifying how we might make this better.

As we moved into Alpha it became clear that parents were often confused about what they needed to do and when. This meant that they ended calling the Council in order to check that they had completed their application correctly. A major part of this was the instructions they received during the application. Whilst accurate, this was not tailored to their specific needs, and often gave contradictory advice at different points in the process.

We identified that our new service needed to break down the existing application into its component parts and tailor the instructions to the individual parent. We renamed the service ‘Apply for a School place’ to better reflect this goal.

However as we have progressed through Beta our concentration has shifted from the application itself, to ensuring that parents are fully informed of what they want, even before they start their application. Parents need to know all sorts of information before they can get their child to the right school. What schools can I choose from? Which are nearby? How good are they? and, How will I get them there? are all questions that need to be answered before they can even start an application.

So in order to create a fully end to end digital service we must start well before the application form and help guide parents through the complicated process of choosing the most suitable schools for their child. Indeed I suspect that the majority of our time in Beta will be spent concentrating on these areas, ensuring we know what information to give to parents when they finally do decide to apply. To that end we have changed the name of our service yet again to ‘Find my child a school place’.

 

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