Transforming how Cornwall Council manage feedback

Feedback is important to a local authority, as it helps shape the long-term improvement of services for its residents.  

Given the range of services provided and the different requirements of its residents, there are usually multiple feedback channels: a resident could complain via their councillor or MP, send an email, fill out a form or call the Contact Centre. Typically, different workflows handle such feedback according to its source and involve multiple manual steps and limited organised case management. 

As part of the Headforwards transformation of Cornwall Council to provide a Single View of the Citizen, feedback from residents and from councillors and MPs now have their own portals that feed into the same new back-office Feedback Management system that employs enhanced automation. Case handlers will now see all cases tracked via one CRM, which improves efficiency.

This replaces a less seamless back-office system that was managed manually, partly via CRM but also through email and spreadsheets used to track cases. The reduction in manual case handling helps prevent error, duplication, and inefficiency, and thus improves the experience of the councillor, MP or resident in a way that encourages the submission of valued feedback. 

Feedback from Councillors and MPs 

Residents or constituents may raise concerns with their councillor or MP via a phone call, email, social media post or a visit to one of their surgeries for example, so councillors and MPs are a high-profile user group for any council IT system. 

A dedicated web portal, built on MS Power Apps, for Cornwall Council now allows a councillor or MP to create a case on the resident’s behalf that feeds into a new Dynamics-based back-office system. 

This portal replaces a previous structure where the councillor or MP would complete a basic web form and send it to be processed by the back-office team. There was no way for the councillor or MP to add information, track progress or to see who was dealing with it except by submitting another form, which was less efficient and not such a good user experience. 

The new feedback form captures additional information through improved fields. These include the ability to search for, and select, a topic that then routes the case into the relevant back-office case management workflow, and hence to the appropriate service’s handling team for a response and subsequent resolution.

The new portal allows the councillor or MP to see a list of cases they have raised. Case details can be retrieved to check progress, as updated by the back-office team, or for the councillor or MP to update the information themselves. Councillors and MPs log in using their existing council Active Directory account, so there is no need to remember additional credentials.

New functionality is planned to be added to display more information, such as heat maps of, for example, reports of abandoned vehicles, potholes, or noise nuisance, to provide a picture of the issues being reported in an area.

Feedback from Residents

Similarly, a new portal has been created for residents to provide feedback, and this uses the same Feedback Management back-office system and workflows as now employed for councillor and MP feedback. Again, cases are routed appropriately into the handling system according to the topic searched for and selected on the feedback form.

Any residents who are less tech-savvy can still submit feedback to the council without using the MyCornwall portal, by calling the Contact Centre for example. Also, feedback can be submitted online to the council anonymously, without having to be logged in.

Future plans include the addition of functionality to MyCornwall, like that for councillors and MPs, where the resident can check the status of their feedback or complaint and add or amend the details.

Statutory Feedback

Addressing feedback or complaints in areas such as adults’ social care or children’s social care entails extra steps such as LGSCO (Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman) involvement.

Work is underway to incorporate the handling of such cases at Cornwall Council in the new back-office Dynamics system. Again, this will replace a largely manual process that involved a CRM and spreadsheets, so it should see the same benefits of increased automation and efficiency, and reduced error and duplication.

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