Caerphilly County Borough council’s investment in RPA software has enabled the organization to react quickly to challenges brought about by a spike in demand for free school meals. Here are the details.
In late 2018, the digital team and council began talking about the possibilities to free up human resources and to stop repetitive processes “grinding people down”. That’s how Liz Lucas, Head of Customer and Digital Services at the local authority, was given the approval to start some RPA projects. Projects were then run regarding the processes around invoice payments in social services. The disruption brought by the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the council harness its RPA leanings. Their flagship project during the pandemic was to assist with the delivery of free school meals. The council’s catering service team was dealing with increased numbers of free school meal applications and had to ensure that every eligible child received their weekly bundle of nutritious meals. This work was taking up to five days per application.
Following the automation of the process, the Blue Prism RPA software takes over when an application is submitted by the parent/guardian. It is picked up and opened by the virtual worker that then copies all the information across into a council system, which would have all been manually re-keyed in previously.
The system connects with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the application is assessed, where a decision is made and the response sent automatically to the citizen.
“Instead of people having to man a phone for people booking a free school meal, we have completely automated it. We have extended the service over and beyond and we are delivering to people’s houses.”
Liz Lucas, Head of Customer and Digital Services for Caerphilly County Borough Council