Disability Links - From 1 day to 1 minute


Over the recent months, I have been working on digitalising an existing process for the Children’s Disability Service. This meant replacing all things paper with portals!

Disability Links is a service that provides parents or carers of young children under 25 years of age with useful information regarding the different services available to them. There are a range of events that they can attend to help them with this responsibility or to support the development of the child or young person with disability.

The Challenge

Pre-transformation, a paper registration form was completed when a parent or carer requested to be added to the Disability Links register. This went into our Business Support team who would print off the paper registration forms, prepare the envelopes and post various leaflets and documents out to the public.

Details were added to and stored on an Excel spreadsheet which was time consuming and resource intensive to keep up to date. Often the information provided by residents in handwriting was unclear to read or some mandatory questions had not been completed.

The Solution

Changing the process to an online registration form allowed us to iron out these issues and fast!

A digital form was designed and built in collaboration with the Disability Links Team and user research was completed with customers who have recently signed up to the service. A back end workflow was designed so that all the manual tasks were no longer required.

We contacted the current registered customers by using GovNotify and asked them to reregister if they were still interested and met the criteria. This was a great success and we now have a clean set of data on our Disability Links register.

Effective resource

Once a month the team of 7 colleagues were required to post out several different leaflets to all the people on the register. This required everyone to being the office for a full day and was a huge team effort creating paper labels, printing off cover letters, preparing the envelopes with the leaflets and posting these out to around 955 parents or carers on the register.

After our support with redesigning and digitalising the process, it now takes no more than a minute to process each registration form or to send information and digital leaflets to the parents or carers via email, saving the team a considerable amount of time and money enabling the team to work on other high priority work.

Below are some quotes from the team to express how the change has benefitted them:

“Having the Disability Links Process transferred to the new online process have decreased the amount of time the whole team spend on providing families with information through the post completing administrative tasks which means this time can be utilised supporting families proactively and face to face which means more time spent with families. The online service also allows us to send out information quickly and easily to families about new services or events at the time these events are occurring.” – Martine Lewis, Children’s Disability Service Team Manager

“I have found it easier with the new system as it has saved a lot of time. We don’t need to produce any letters/labels; inputting on excel and a new enquiry is completed within minutes.” – Nazima Chandia, Business Support Officer

“Since the new Disability Links online went live I have found it a lot easier as the parent/carer has already supplied the relevant details on the system so therefore we no longer have to input this manually onto the spreadsheet, we also don’t have to send out letters, leaflets and booklets as once the parent/ carer registers online they are then sent links to that information automatically via email. The new system is so much easier to manage.” – Melanie Pilkington, Business Support Officer

The project was a success and it was great to be involved in a digital transformation piece that gives so much resource back to the Disability Team for them to be able to provide a more efficient service to those that need our help and assistance.

By Aamirah Patel on 6th Jul 2022
Aamirah is an assistant Service Designer at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.