Melton City Council accelerates digital workflow

30th September 2021

Trying something new and pushing beyond the standard way of operations is essential for innovative and forward-thinking operations. Even prior to COVID-19 upending our world and accelerating the widespread uptake of digital solutions, we went through our very own digital transformation at Melton City Council.

Melton’s transition towards digital innovation has significantly reduced our costs and streamlined our workflows. Since 2019, we have removed 527 administration steps, including paper-based and waste processes, saving 2,700 hours. We also now see an average of 29 new users register for our Community Portal per day and receive about 112 online requests per day – an increase from 80 applications per day in January 2021.

We went from heavily relying on manual processes to achieving more than $787,060 of operational efficiencies since the digital rollout in October 2019.

The move future-proofed the Council for what was to come.

Prior to this project, there was minimal focus on self-service within our Council. While front-end webforms were available, these resulted in back-end emails that needed action, driving up cost and productivity loss. Less than two years ago, most of our customer forms were non-editable PDF forms that were ‘print and complete.’

But we are a thriving city council on Melbourne’s western rural-urban fringe. Our local population has doubled in the past 10 years, and we are expecting to answer 270,000 enquiries each year and process 92,000 rates notices by 2024.

Therefore, we needed to act.

So, our business transformation team embarked on an extensive program to improve the efficiency and longevity of our systems.

Since October 2019, Civica’s Authority Community Portal has fulfilled all four of the Council’s primary business objectives: customer self-service, improved customer request response time, business workflow improvement, and cost reduction via the removal of non-value steps.

When a resident wants to pay rates, register an animal, apply for a planning permit or book hard-waste removal services, they don’t have to call or visit our office. Instead, they access these services through the Community Portal via our Council’s website.

As a result of this rollout, the Melton Council citizens can now make payments and lodge applications online. In fact, 72 per cent of applications are now submitted via the portal and managed to completion by the back-end workflow, equalling a 67 per cent reduction in phone and office visits.

The Community Portal has also changed the way we deliver end-to-end initiatives. It enables residents to easily lodge requests and submissions online, at any time, using any device. This prepared us and the community for the rapid migration to digital technologies that was driven by the recent pandemic.

Melton’s customer-centric approach improves business workflow

To make sure we could maintain governance and compliance, the transformation project was completed in two stages: first core services and then value-added services.

In the initial stage, we introduced online payments and bookings systems to enable seamless, self-serve access on any device. We also digitised our community services and streamlined customer enquiries and requests.

Stage two will look to amplify the benefits by improving the digital citizen experience. With the formation of a new team focused on creating a connected community.

We aspire to see online as central to our operations and communication with the Melton community, enabling better productivity, reduction in operational cost and improved customer satisfaction.

The success of our Community Portal has encouraged a more intensive focus on business transformation, digitisation and customer experience, which are now part of our operations. We also continue to drive for connected experiences and process refinement improvements – this project is an ongoing piece of work, not a short-term plan.

Commitment and collaboration are key to success

Key to our success was a committed and dedicated delivery team, willing to explore the solution options and ensure this project was successful and our partnership with Civica. Civica’s consultants helped us throughout the entire process, from implementation to problem solving and providing support when we went live.

Our team were relentless with our delivery and worked closely with Civica to drive the benefits to ensure a seamless and compliant transition. Today, we continue to work closely with Civica on any issues, product ideas, and opportunities.

Building on these improvements, by eliminating manual processes and going digital, and ensuring all business strategies across Melton City Council improve in tandem, will further develop our services and offer a more supportive experience for staff and a more accessible one to our citizens.