Published on 28-Feb-2011
UK Dept for Work and Pensions...Going paperless helps agency deliver faster service
The agency can experience delays managing paper-based applications as each application for benefits was typically routed to two or three different case workers before it landed on the right person’s desk. It could take three to four days before the paperwork was sent to the correct case worker. And with new applications received daily, staff constantly had to reprioritize requests.
Using IBM® ECM software, the agency created a single electronic repository for case information so staff has immediate access to the information they need for any customer query or claim. The solution enables the agency to assign cases the same day it receives them, and also helps prioritize cases so team leaders don’t have to wade through paper files to identify the most urgent cases.
With a 360-degree view of each applicant in one place, the agency is more efficient and can better meet citizen needs. The agency also has flexibility to distribute workloads as needed. For example, if a factory closes and hundreds of people in one area are out of work, the agency can easily spread applications across multiple offices so that one site isn’t overwhelmed. Additionally, the agency has greater insight into the number and type of cases under management. Previously, these numbers were manually tallied.
The Dept for Work and Pensions (DWP) administers unemployment and disability benefits, pensions and child support across the United Kingdom. The agency serves 30 million people and has 105,000 employees.
If you’re out of work, any delay in receiving assistance can affect your ability to meet basic life needs. As a result, when UK citizens contact their local Dept for Work and Pensions, agency staff are committed to responding as quickly as possible. However, with 800 sites across the country and a growing number of applicants due to the recession, the agency can experience delays managing paper-based applications. Each application typically was routed to two or three people before it landed on the right person’s desk. And with new applications received daily, staff constantly had to pore through files manually to reprioritize requests. DWP currently receives approximately 112,00 pages per day and issues about 350,000 pages per day. The organization also holds in excess of 46 million paper files in storage. “It could take three to four days before the paperwork got to someone who could actually deal with it,” says Jacqui Leggetter, paper reduction project manager, UK Dept for Work and Pensions.
To respond quickly and efficiently, the organization is moving to a paperless environment that can support “straight through processing” of requests from receipt through payment. “Ultimately, much of the process will be automated with decision makers validating approval and payment,” says Leggetter.
The first step toward this vision has been the agency’s use of IBM® Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software to create a single electronic repository for case information and to implement workflows that help the agency assign cases based on urgency. “With IBM ECM software, we have a single version of the truth,” says Leggetter. “Our agents know exactly where to find the information they need for any query or claim. We can assign cases the same day we receive them. We can also prioritize cases so team leaders don’t have to wade through paper files or wait for citizens to call in a desperate state.”
For agency staff, the transition to a paperless system has been very positive. “They like working with the images,” says Leggetter. “If they have someone on the phone, the information is at their fingertips. There’s no need for a callback. The IBM ECM solution is transforming the way service is delivered and making a huge difference to both our staff and our clients.”
With a 360-degree view of each applicant in one place, Leggetter says the agency is more efficient and can better meet citizen needs. “We can provide much faster service, eliminating up to four days from the process, and can reduce the time spent on each claim,” says Leggetter, who points out that this increased efficiency is critical during recessionary times when the number of claims rises dramatically.
The agency also has flexibility to distribute workloads as needed. For example, if a factory closes and hundreds of people in one area are out of work, the agency can easily spread applications across multiple offices so that one site isn’t overwhelmed. “With IBM ECM software, we can create a virtual organization and move the workflow digitally,” explains Leggetter. “We don’t have to rely on moving paper, which causes delays and increases the risk of loss.”
Additionally, the agency has greater insight into the number and type of cases under management. Previously, these numbers were manually tallied. “For the first time, we can get reliable information on how many contacts we have and in which areas,” says Leggetter. “This will help us inform and shape future policies based on citizen needs.”
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