Response Master enables Hackney’s correspondence team to take higher volumes in its stride

14 Nov 18

Increased enforcement around many of the borough’s schools has led to a significant increase in Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) challenges for the London Borough of Hackney’s correspondence team. However, automated solutions provided by Barbour Logic have enabled the authority’s 16-strong back office team to absorb the increased workload and maintain continuous improvement in service standards and efficiencies.

Significant reduction in car ownership and usage among residents demonstrates the effectiveness of the inner London authority’s commitment to sustainable transport across one of the capital’s most densely populated areas. Air quality and road safety issues around many of the borough’s 78 schools, however, have been major cause of concern.

This has prompted the council to introduce new pedestrian zones and extend its enforcement activities during drop-off and pick-up times around many of the schools. And effective enforcement of the new restrictions is helping to ensure the approach delivers the required outcomes expected by residents, parents and teaching staff.

The initiative has led to a 30% rise in the number of PCNs issued by the authority, although the volume continues to decline as the new measures deliver the required behavioural change. This has seen an increase in the number of PCN challenges received by the authority and the number of enforcement-related calls to the Council’s Contact Centre. Today, more than 3,500 items of correspondence are received every month by the Representations and Appeals Team managed by Samir Hasanagic, with Barbour Logic’s Response Master helping to ensure responses to drivers are clear, consistent and punctual.

“We introduced Response Master four years ago and have never looked back,” says Hasanagic. “The system was very easy to install and proved its worth in a matter of weeks, with a noticeable improvement in first contact resolution. But, significantly, the service automation has enabled us to absorb increased work volumes without any disruption or any dip in performance or service quality.

“Moreover, it has helped to ensure that the Council’s appeals policies are applied consistently at all times. This was always difficult to achieve when new recruits joined the team after they had undertaken similar work for other authorities. Now, consistency and clarity in all outgoing correspondence is assured.”

Hackney is a vibrant and relatively young borough, with a quarter of the population under the age of 20 and a fifth of residents between 20 and 29 years of age. It is also the third most densely populated borough in the capital. Consequently, the importance of road safety and air quality around schools is a recurring and important issue for a large proportion of the population.

An extensive consultation process with local residents and schools preceded the introduction of the new pedestrian zones. This exercise highlighted the issues and explained the reasons for restricting vehicular access at defined times of the day. Not only did this help to win support for the initiative among parents, but residents were also reassured that it would provide an effective deterrent to the high level of on-street parking by commuters using local rail connections.

Following the success of the vehicle restrictions around, Gayhurst, Milfields, St John the Baptist and Tyssen schools, further pedestrian zones are now planned for primary schools in Westgate Street and Hoxton Street. Hasanagic is confident that Response Master will enable the Appeals and Representations team to maintain prompt first contact resolution as further enforcement measures take effect.

“It’s a brilliant tool,” he adds. “What’s more it couldn’t be easier to ensure continuous policy changes and adjustments are reflected in all of our outgoing correspondence to motorists. Every member of the team finds the system very easy to use and the only contact we have with Barbour Logic is when we have significant policy changes or when the company provides an upgrade as part of its continuous improvement policy or in response to legislative changes. And the clarity of our letters has helped us to improve results from those cases referred to the independent tribunal.”

Response Master automatically applies council policies, removing uncertainty and administrative inefficiencies, and generates consistently correct letters to drivers. And written in plain English, the letters are clear and easy to understand. This minimises risk, improves response times, increases driver satisfaction and provides immediate efficiency gains.

Introduced by Barbour Logic more than a decade ago, Response Master has three innovation awards under its belt and its benefits are well proven. The latest version features a brand-new look and feel with intelligent, personalised dashboards for users.

Hasanagic says the success of Response Master has now prompted the introduction of Barbour Logic’s Self-Serve solution to further improve the service for customers. Self-Serve enables drivers contemplating a challenge to get instant advice online, 24/7. The advice given is specific to the driver’s PCN, reflects council policy and explains precisely what evidence is needed. This enables drivers to make an informed decision about challenging their PCN, saving time for them and the council.

Click here to see the article in Parking News