A new arrival is always a reason to celebrate, a little citizen, a fresh life full of promise and possibilities. For the excited sleep-deprived parents, finding their feet in the foray of nappies, nursing, and naptime, there is a lot to think about.
Thankfully, for new mums and dads in Mid Ulster District Council, the visiting community midwives now hand out a ‘How to register your baby’ leaflet complete with a QR code to easily send in their information and book their appointment, all on their mobile phone.
Directly from the webpage, they can see the distance and availability at each of the registry offices. Then fill in the form one question at a time, and they only see the information and questions that are relevant to their family situation.
The new online booking process for birth registrations is proving popular with families, leading to more than half of the customers completing the form in less than 10 minutes, and 90 per cent of them filling it in on their phone. The easy online process saves them time and makes things easy when they arrive at the registration office. The time saved is something that new parents are no doubt very grateful for.
As well as birth registration, notice to marry, and legal capacity to marry appointments in Mid Ulster can all be booked online. It is just one of many signs that the Council is dialling up the digital and doing so with residents’ needs at the heart of things.
“Our citizens’ expectations are higher than ever,” explains Mid Ulster District Council Chief Executive Adrian McCreesh. “We have an ambition to be a leading digital council and make accessing our services as straight forward as online shopping.”
This ambition is captured in the Digital Transformation Strategy that the council launched in July 2022. It underpins the authority’s approach to service transformation and includes a commitment to collaboration in service design and evidencing improvements with data.
“Everything was collaboratively designed, built, and tested by a multi-disciplinary team, including colleagues from communications, ICT, our reception team, all our registrars, and our digital partners Tailwind Digital,” comments Joseph McGuckin, Head of Strategic Services and Engagement.
“The online booking processes have completely changed the registration service. Based on our figures from 2023 we have reduced calls into and out of the team by over 32 per cent, that is over 5,000 fewer phone calls annually. We also get 40 per cent fewer emails, nearly 2,500 fewer annually, as all the information that is needed is on the web for anyone to access at any time. It has allowed our staff to offer a better service online and offline to all our customers.”
Tailwind Digital are a small team of local government focused digital consultants. They have a proven track record of leading and delivering service transformation. Speaking to Principal Consultant Tom Styles his enthusiasm for the transformative potential of technology is clear: “We are incredibly proud of the work we have done with Mid Ulster District Council, and excited to support other authorities in Northern Ireland wherever they are on their digital journey.”
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