UK council puts citizens first with visual data and accurate analytics for detailed insight into local services performance
Qlik®, a leader in visual analytics, today announced the City of Wolverhampton Council has rolled out Qlik across the organisation to gain accurate insight into the performance of local services and, ultimately, see how they can be run more effectively. As part of a broader digital transformation programme, the city has rejuvenated its business intelligence and visual analytics capabilities. Building on its use of QlikView with Qlik Connectors and Qlik Sense, it is turning to data for insights that can inform everyone across the city – including citizens, front-line staff, suppliers, politicians and senior executives – about the provision of council services both now and in the future.
The city of Wolverhampton is in the West Midlands region of the UK. With a population of 250,000, the city comprises of a small area geographically, but is densely populated. One of the UK’s less affluent cities, there’s a strong demand for council services, with a lot of support needed by its citizens and local economy. The council itself has a workforce of around 5,000, all tasked with meeting the demands and needs of the people of Wolverhampton.
Approximately three years ago, faced with strict economic measures set by the UK government, management at the council were faced with a hard choice: either reduce citizen services or find a way to do more with less and improve them in the face of restricted budgets. Opting for the latter, it took the strategic decision to make better use of its existing data to see how it could run its services more effectively, as well as how it could better interact with the community and its neighboring regions. After conducting a comprehensive review of the solutions on the market, including Tableau and Microsoft Power BI, the council chose Qlik as it provided the most cost effective, yet comprehensive, solution. The council saw developed applications within six weeks of the QlikView deployment, using a six-week agile delivery method, allowing them to utilize and gain value from the solution almost immediately.
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Now, the council can take disparate data sets from across the organisation and its different departments and integrate them into one place to provide a single view, so everyone from management to front-line staff can gain visual insight into the organisation. Data is analyzed immediately, whereas before it would take the council’s BI team seven days to run reports. And, without any form of human error, managers can be sure of the accuracy of the information they’re using.
Wanting to use Qlik to improve its customer services, one of the first applications it developed was devised to address this area specifically. The application is a performance-led dashboard illustrating and measuring customer services across the council’s entire communications channels. Data from all online interactions, any public surveys, face-to-face meetings, phone calls or email correspondence go into the app and is analyzed for insight into how and why citizens are interacting with customer services, what their requests are and how the council responded. Making use of Qlik Connectors, the council can also capture insight from its social media channels to see the quantity of interactions or likes, they’re getting from different posts and see what type of communications are resonating with residents.
In the future, the city will be looking to improve social care across the region by seeing how the local community can help with the provisioning of services. Looking at volunteer data, they’ll be able to cross-compare it with those in need of care and match the two up – tying the needs of the most vulnerable with the availability of those who are happy to support. This will both help to reduce the number of visits social workers must take on, while ensuring those who need care are receiving sufficient attention.
Beyond the initial project with QlikView, the council has extended its implementation with Qlik Sense, which, with its data visualization and guided analytics capabilities, will provide self-service BI to all City of Wolverhampton Council managers and allow them to make more predictive decisions around proactive planning. One application the council is looking to develop is aimed at reducing fly tipping. By considering geometric data around missed bin collections, the city would be able to see where they have data around missed bin collections and contaminated waste, for example. Often, if bins are contaminated and haven’t been collected, people will dump their rubbish elsewhere. With the Qlik Sense app, the city council will be able to see where fly tippers reside and how they can better support the bin collections around affected areas.
“When faced with strict economic measures and pressures such as an ageing population, we wanted to continue providing top notch services to our residents, but that meant doing more with less. We knew a way to do this was to make better use of the data we already had across the organisation,” said City of Wolverhampton Council’s Head of ICT, Andy Hoare. “Whereas before, line managers had to speak to the BI team to run reports and get any form of intelligence, they can now look at Qlik and it’s all there at their fingertips. Already we’re starting to spot trends in different data sets that we wouldn’t have been able to connect before we had Qlik– and it’s helping us see where we can be operating more effectively to deliver the best possible services to the citizens of Wolverhampton.”
Qlik’s UK&I MD and Country Manager, Simon Blunn comments: “We’re really glad that Qlik is being used to help keep services running at the same – if not better – level than they were before budget cuts. Given the current economic pressures faced by the UK’s city councils, they’re tasked with providing services wanted and needed by the public, whilst reducing costs. We’re looking forward to continuing to support Wolverhampton on their digital transformation journey – and seeing which applications and insights will come next.”