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Harrow Council Automates Parking Fine Appeals and Payments Using Firmstep’s AchieveForms

Council achieves complete channel shift in handling Penalty Charge Notices online, saving an estimated £90,000 per year in administration and related costs

PRLog - Oct. 12, 2012 - Harrow Council has been able to completely automate its handling of parking and traffic enforcement Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), saving it an estimated £90,000 per year, using the AchieveForms intelligent online forms solution from Firmstep, a leader in online service solutions for local government.  

The take-up of the Council’s online appeals and payment process over the past two years has enabled it to discontinue face-to-face and telephone enquiries about PCNs from 1st August 2012.  Motorists who receive a PCN now simply visit the ‘Parking’ pages of Harrow Council’s website and click through to an online form, built using AchieveForms, where they enter the reference number of the PCN and their vehicle registration.  

The details captured by AchieveForms are then checked in real time against the Council’s back office systems, to retrieve details of the offence together with photographic evidence from appropriate parking or traffic cameras.  The motorist is then offered the opportunity to appeal the PCN by completing the online form, or to pay the penalty.  

Harrow Council introduced the online parking fine appeals and payment service in 2010, to replace a downloadable, static Acrobat PDF form.  In the first year of deployment of the AchieveForms-based solution, the council had 15,000 form submissions, compared with 396 submissions of the static form in the previous year.  Submissions nearly doubled to 29,000 in 2011;  the council now receives over 4,000 submissions per month.

Harrow Council’s Web Team Leader, David Miller, said:  “The Firmstep solution has enabled Harrow Council to implement a service that is easy for people to access and use, and which enables ongoing efficiency gains and cost savings by scaling back administration costs.  It’s a key part of our commitment to being an open, accessible and efficient organisation that is serves the needs of local residents by using the best technology available."

The business case for the solution was developed in 2010 by Harrow Council together with Capita, the council’s IT outsourcing partner, as part of a wider initiative to automate council services and make them more accessible while reducing administration costs.  The council was already using Firmstep’s AchieveForms in sections of its MyHarrow citizen information portal, and saw the potential to use the solution to drive efficiency in handling PCNs.

Harrow Council is further developing the online PCN appeals and payments service, to stream video content of violations from traffic cameras, to help speed up resolutions.  

AchieveForms enables rapid development and deployment of robust, powerful online forms with automated workflow features, and is part of the Achieve suite of solutions delivered on the Firmstep Platform.  With its unique integration capabilities, Firmstep’s Platform links to any council back-office system, giving easy, open access to data with no need for complex programming or changes.  This helps councils to quickly roll out solutions that meet customer service expectations and successfully achieve channel shift.  


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