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Hillingdon Council supports residents with grant scheme during the COVID winter

GOSS case management technology is helping the London Borough of Hillingdon to rapidly create and deploy a new essential winter grant application process for those in need during the ongoing pandemic.

Hillingdon Trinity (January 2021)

 

Hillingdon Trinity (January 2021)

With the winter season seeing a surge in COVID-19's cases, and UK being forced back into another national lockdown, local authorities across the country are continuing to develop innovative methods to support their residents. The London Borough of Hillingdon has done just that and recently deployed a much-needed form and process which enables residents to apply for the COVID-19 grant scheme throughout the 2020/21 winter season. Hillingdon, one of 32 London boroughs, serves 305,000 residents and has become no stranger over the past 10 months in needing to rapidly respond in supporting their community with pandemic-based online and digital solutions.

This new winter grant process created by Hillingdon comes as the government has provided authorities across the UK with funding to help support households suffering financial hardship as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19. With the grant, struggling households will be helped to meet the cost of food and utility bills and for Hillingdon's residents they can simply head to Hillingdon's website to apply using the one-page form.

Built within only 4 days of the announcement of government funding for the grant scheme, Hillingdon have used their existing GOSS Digital Platform to rapidly build the form and business process to deliver this vital service. The service itself not only enables residents to complete the grant application, but also efficiently manages applications internally at Hillingdon using GOSS case management technology.

Once an individual makes an application, council staff can assess to ensure the application is eligible for the grant. Eligibility is initially cross referenced against a list of children who qualify for free school meals, and should eligibility not be established this way, the Hillingdon team check if they are in receipt of other qualifying benefits and then upload the proof to the case to prove eligibility. Those who are eligible then have their details passed to the payments team at Hillingdon who then arrange to make the payment with the applicant. Furthermore, the resident will be kept informed via email, confirming receipt when the case is closed with the decision.

With the new service having gone live in mid-December, Hillingdon have seen a rapid uptake of the service, receiving 845 applications within the first 2 days. What's more, by the first week of January, applications have virtually doubled to a total of 1,500.

Considering the short time period from announcement of funding to deploying the service, Hillingdon have showcased how it is possible to use the GOSS Digital Platform to easily build and deliver end-to-end services for their residents. Alun Rees, Channel Migration Manager at the London Borough of Hillingdon said, "As a team, managing support for our Citizens during the pandemic has been an ongoing challenge. Juggling the requirement for additional support services, whilst also managing the transition to our new GOSS Digital Platform away from our Onyx CRM has made managing priorities challenging. The COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme has been no different. We urgently needed to stand up a new online application service during the Christmas period, to allow citizens to apply for critically needed financial support and took the opportunity to create and release this directly on the GOSS Digital Platform so customers could apply directly using an intuitive self-service online form, reducing pressure on our customer services team. Using the GOSS low-code tools, we were able to build the whole end to end business service within 4 days incorporating online applications and a full case review, approval and processing for our applications team. We have benefitted from quick insights into application volumes, SLA management and direct contact with Citizens in the event of application queries. The speed at which we have been able to develop the service has been key to the project and hopefully providing a much-improved service for Citizens."