Waste Transformation Week Notes - Week 8



This week’s star of the show is Garden Waste, as this is now live and actively being used by 1000’s of residents within our borough!

This process has been months in the making, although the forms look simple to the users, there is some complexity in the back end after it has reached us. For us to make sure the forms are accurate and easy to use, we have carried out a lot of testing and iterations to get this process right.

Testing is one of the largest parts of our journey with any new forms we create, with it being a time for working through any kinks. With our Garden Waste journey, we have been able to use our previous experiences on our old system, customer contact portal (CCP), to really hone in on what we wanted the new forms to be able to do – or more importantly, not do!

We have also been able to work closely with other departments, such as the environment and marketing teams, to ensure a smooth sailing sign up process. It has highlighted the importance of being able to work in a multi-disciplinary team as we have had more control over the overall process.

For example, we send email reminders out to previous subscribers but in past years they have just been sent all at once. This has then led to a crash on CCP and an influx in calls to the contact centre, due to the overwhelming demand. Our decision was to stagger the emails, sending out around 1000 per day. Again, the journey changed though as after the first couple of days we realised that sending the emails later in the day (as close to 5pm as possible) was more beneficial, as this would encourage people to go online instead of waiting for the next day to phone up.

The marketing and communication team then waited a couple of days before advertising the sign up process, which they then did online and through social media. Again, with a big encouragement to sign up online. During this crazy past two years of the pandemic, we noticed an increase in people submitting online enquiries and we really wanted to make the most of that and reduce the demand on the contact centre. It seems so far that people this year are a lot more receptive to use these online garden waste forms to subscribe!

Our new digital customer portal (DCP) has handled the record breaking number of signups better than we could have anticipated. We still check daily just to make sure everything is continuing to happen as it should.

It feels like a real achievement for those involved, especially since it feels like we have reflected on previous mistakes that had been made and used them to learn and improve.

Meta cognition cycle


User research

All improvements that we have made, have been off the back of our user research findings and this is something we will continue to do. Our plan is to carry out user research now that users have started to sign up, this way we can implement our agile working and continually keep improving.

Our aims for the coming few weeks are:

     - To prepare and test our last few waste forms.

     - To not think about waste whilst tucking into our turkey.

     - To wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


As always, we welcome and encourage any questions, comments or feedback. Please send any through to customerpanel@blackburn.gov.uk

By Katie Leake on 21st Dec 2021
Katie Leake is an Assistant Service Designer with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council