IT initiative award: Hillingdon LBC
The HillingdonFirst card, launched in June 2009, offers local residents preferential rates at council parking facilities and leisure centres, access to libraries, the council’s waste centre and discounts at more than 330 shops and businesses in the borough.
The card is funded through charging non-residents extra for using council facilities, for example parking in Hillingdon or using local waste and recycling sites.
HillingdonFirst has been a great success and there are currently more than 100,000 active cards in the borough. Surveys have shown that 86% of residents use the card, far exceeding the council’s target of 50%. So far around 375 businesses participate in the scheme, exceeding the target of 200.
The scheme was launched in 2009. Residents, local business and other stakeholders were fully engaged throughout the implementation of the scheme. Residents were consulted on what they wanted from a citizen card, as well as its design and what it should be called. A survey conducted before the launch found that 88% of residents who responded said that the card was a good idea
A comprehensive communications strategy was put in place to keep all stakeholders informed of the progress through a variety of media. Expected problems and issues were identified early on and residents were made aware of any anticipated problems in advance through relevant publicity.
The card uses ‘contact-less’ technology, meaning it simply needs to be held in close proximity to a card reader. Hillingdon is the first council to include a parking application onto a contact-less smartcard and the method has been adopted as a national standard so it can be implemented by other councils.
To help residents use their cards at parking meters, a short video was uploaded onto the council’s website, and instructions are also illustrated on the parking meters themselves. HillingdonFirst was the winner of British Parking Awards 2010, with the card being recognised for an innovation award.
The card promotes local businesses while giving residents preferential rates to services as well as modernising and improving access to council services. The council has received positive feedback from residents and local businesses.
Councillor Douglas Mills, cabinet member for improvement, partnerships and community safety, said: “The LGC award recognises the council’s commitment to improving services for residents.
“Hillingdon has lead the way with our approach to residents’ cards and it is an initiative that other councils are looking emulate. I would like to congratulate all of the council officers who helped to implement the card so smoothly and for their hard work in making the HillingdonFirst card a success.”
Hugh Dunnachie, chief executive, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and one that staff can be rightly proud of. The award highlights our commitment to putting our residents first.”
The judges’ view
This ambitious and successful project team has delivered the biggest IT system for a very modest budget. Benefits range from improved data quality to better access to public services and services that are directly relevant to the needs of the citizens of this council
- Suffolk Coastal DC (highly commended)
- Calderdale MBC
- Essex CC
- Lancashire CC
- South Lanarkshire Council
- Stockport Council
- Surrey CC