NE Lincs clear correspondence backlog – Response Master made difference in less than month

Parking Review: 30th January 2014

The notice processing team at North East Lincolnshire Council is now using Barbour Logic’s Response Master letter-generating system to answer correspondence relating to parking penalties.

Response Master was introduced after a backlog of motorists’ challenges built up last year. In June 2013 one of the team’s four notice-processing officers left. Pressure to cut costs meant that the team member was not replaced, causing the backlog.

The council’s parking back office is managed by its private sector partner Cofely GDF Suez, which acquired facilities management business Balfour Beatty Workplace in December 2013.

Cofely looked at how technology could speed up the process of responding to letters. A decision was taken to adopt the Response Master system, which generates consistent letters in plain English based on a council’s specific parking policies.

“I can’t believe how quickly we got this up and running,” said parking strategy manager Stacey Chaplin. “The system was set up with the council’s parking policies on 27 November, staff were trained on site and started to use it on 4 December. Within a week we were up to speed.

“Even with fewer staff it has doubled productivity within a really short space of time. It also provides complete consistency of policy application, which isn’t always possible when you’ve got different people making decisions.”

The correspondence backlog was cleared before Christmas, meaning the staff were freed up to concentrate on more complex cases going to adjudication.

The Response Master software has been designed to be easy to operate, meaning two of the department’s administration staff, while not qualified in notice-processing, have now been trained to respond to informal challenges using the system.

This means the administrative staff can provide cover when their colleagues are either ill or absent.

The partnership between Cofely and NE Lincs covers a range of services, including highways and transport, development services and building control, as well as asset management, security and architectural design services.