As more and more customers become used to the web interfaces of other organisations such as TradeMe, online retail, airlines, electricity companies and banks the question is raised ‘why can’t councils offer the same level of 24/7 access and fast service’? Central government has invested many millions in the large scale service delivery departments such as IRD, ACC, WINZ, and others. Local Government, especially the larger councils, is also responding to the challenge.
In 2009 RDC was in the process of implementing an aspect of its IS Strategic Plan and
had commissioned consultants to develop a Digital Platform Strategy to provide an online
customer service. Coincidentally HCC had engaged the same consultants at the same time
to answer the same question.
The key managers of each council met and agreed to explore a business plan to work
collaboratively rather than independently. A shared business case was drafted and
accepted by both councils.
It was decided to choose a project to act as the pilot test for the alliance. A pressing issue
was the migration to an online service for dog registration – the biggest single (one week)
annual customer service event for any TLA – which has obvious cost saving and service
improvement benefits for customers and councils. Following the successful rollout the
project was extended to develop a suite of other additional services called Citizen, which
are available for other councils to license at low cost.