Brighton & Hove City Council
What we did
Digital service design
User experience design
Digital transformation
A man using the new Brighton & Hove website on his iPad

Like all councils across the country, Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) has an urgent need to reduce costs while still providing a good service to local people. To meet this need, they have embarked on a programme to introduce operational efficiencies and save customer service costs by embracing the potential that 'digital' can provide.

Inevitably, this type of digital transformation involves a channel switch from more conventional, analogue means. For the transition to be successful, BHCC recognised its need to provide a much improved digital experience for both citizens and staff.

Clearleft have been working with BHCC throughout the transformation process. For this particular initiative we focussed on improving a vital council service which affects everyone in the city. We needed to address the service design of Cityclean, the department responsible for rubbish, recycling, and street cleaning.

Listening to a Cityclean supervisor explain his daily routine, we realised our work would make a huge difference not only to his team, but to the city as a whole.
Hana Stevenson, Interaction Designer

The Results

Efficiencies introduced

By designing the reporting system to flow from citizen to street team and back, we helped Cityclean respond more quickly and operate more efficiently. By making information easier to find online, we reduced inbound calls, freeing up Cityclean’s time to respond to reports.

Cultural changes instigated

The improvements, made at relatively low cost, showed senior decision makers the kind of impact that can be had when digital service design is done right. We influenced internal culture so that form filling is no longer considered to be the end of the user’s experience, but as the start of it.

User experience improved

The redesigned service works on small screens and makes reporting issues much easier and more effective.

The Full Story

How do you get 'digital' to benefit the real world?

In order to keep the city safe and hygienic, Cityclean relies on local people reporting issues such as graffiti, fly-tipping and broken glass. Our task was to make it easy and rewarding for people to report problems, and to help Cityclean efficiently respond to those reports.

We worked closely with Cityclean to understand exactly what information they required from such reports, and how they would act upon it.

A group of people running a form design workshop
Running a form design workshop with BHCC staff

We discovered that the online report form was difficult to use and required lots of unnecessary information from the person filling it in. Additionally, every single report was being printed out each morning, street crews were circumventing communications bureaucracy in an attempt to be more productive, and there was very little timely feedback to citizens. All in all the incumbent procedures were crying out to be improved. On the plus side we also found a dedicated, albeit frustrated, team with a great can-do attitude.

The solution we designed in collaboration with the BHCC digital team was a simple focussed system, enabling Cityclean to do their job better and with greater efficiency.

A service design model created for Brighton & Hove council
The Cityclean service design model

As a result, reporting online is now quick and easy to do, and works well on mobile devices. The new website asks citizens to provide only the information actually used, and takes advantage of modern technology including the cameras and location services in smart phones.

A redesign street report form used to capture information from citizens
The redesigned street report form for citizens

Urgent jobs are more easily identified, and work is quickly assigned and tracked through a digital dashboard rather than a physical paper trail. Street crews get job details directly on their mobile devices, which they can mark as fixed in real time. Supervisors can provide advice and direction through the system, and automatically notify citizens of progress, thus closing the loop as soon as the report is resolved.

Crew view
Street crews get an actionable view of the job directly to their mobile devices

The final result is a reporting system that works for citizens on screens of all sizes, and makes reporting issues much easier and more effective. The reporting system flows from citizen to the street team and back, and helps Cityclean respond more quickly and operate more efficiently.

If you want to find out more about service design, please have a listen to episode 2 of the Clearleft podcast.

More work