Taxi licensing applications - fixing complexity, inefficiency and risk DISCOVERY

Project details:

Organisation Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council
Collaboration Level Share Ideas
Budget £50K > £100k
Key Contact Roger Abbott
Phase start 18 January 2019
Phase Estimated end 31 March 2019


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This is a joint project between Gateshead Council, Northumberland County Council and Sunderland City Council .

Licensing services in local government tend not to have embraced digital approaches, with reliance on paper application processes.

This discovery project will look at how digital solutions may be able to enhance taxi licensing services locally and nationally.  A fundamental objective for exploring a digital solution is to ensure public safety; licensing authorities need confidence that digital solutions can holistically enhance safety measures and processes already in place, whilst removing inefficient paper-based processes that are costly and slow to administer. 

Licensees are sometimes reluctant to engage with licensing authorities other than by traditional means (telephone, letter and face to face) so digital solutions need to be understandable, accessible and lean.  This in turn may have a positive impact on processing time, costs and the customer journey.

A digital solution may also support with quicker decision making and more effective sharing of information with other authorities.




Status Updates

03 April 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 11 (Week commencing 1st April 2019)

    - Present Discovery findings and agile Discovery approach to senior stakeholders from all of the local authorities involved.

03 April 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 10 (Week commencing 25th March 2019)

    - Collaboratively, plan and prepare materials for the final show and tell presentation;

    - Set outline and write up business case using Google Docs for high levels of collaborative working and shared actions.

03 April 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 9 (Week commencing 18th March 2019)

    - Service Scope Workshop. Playing back research findings and ideating along with the local authorities on what their service vision looks like and what needs to be considered going forward;

    - Document service scope workshop outputs for review and to feed into reports;

    - Amends to digital journey maps/service blueprints;

    - Plan and creation of User Research report, Recommendations Report and Business Case,

03 April 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 8 (Week commencing 11th March 2019)

    - Finalise digital journey maps/service blueprints for sign off by the local authorities

    - Plan and prepare materials for Service Scope workshop

14 March 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 7 (Week commencing 4th March 2019)

    Creation of user needs from the research synthesis session;

    Using the key insights and themes that were uncovered in the analysis, we then developed user needs for applicants and council licensing teams to help refine our direction and understanding going forward.

    Digitising user journeys in preparation of the co-design workshop on Thursday;

    Digitising journey maps and collaborating with the Business Analyst to share user research findings to feed into the process maps;

    Co-design workshop with all three councils;

    Reviewing the user journey maps to identify moments that matter, then as a collective group, prioritise the moments that should be looked into further as they had potential scope. We then generated ideas around the top prioritised moments that matter to understand opportunities, benefits and the limitations.

14 March 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 6 (Week commencing 25th February 2019)

14 March 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 6 (Week commencing 25th February 2019)

    Further recruitment for taxi operators (Sunderland and rural Northumberland);

    Collation of research findings, playback of findings to Orange Bus Team;

    Pulling together the findings from the guerrilla research and interviews to effectively be played back to the team and analysed.

    Planning for the co design workshop;

    Initial discussions of what we want to achieve with a co-design session - originally intended to be with both applicants and council employees.

    Conducting internal research synthesis session

    Reviewing the research gathered so far and using an affinity analysis, uncover themes and user needs to allow us to refine the journey maps with a taxi drivers perspective.

    Preparation for show and tell session on Thursday.

    Delivery of show and tell

14 March 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 5 (Week commencing 18th February 2019)

    Guerrilla research with Gateshead and Sunderland taxi drivers;

    Aiming to understand their perspective on the application processes with the local authorities and gain an insight into their appetite for a digital solution and their thoughts regarding public safety.

    Process mapping workshop with all partners;

    Discussing how to create process maps, best practices and relating that back to each council’s own processes.

    Research write up, adding detail to research log;

    Visit to Northumberland council to talk to local taxi drivers and operators, along with the only operator that covers all three partnering  authorities;

    Again, to understand drivers and operator’s perspective on the current processes and to learn, if any, the differences depending on the authority licensing with.

    Commencement of service blueprint digitisation.

    Starting to take the tangible work that each council had contributed and convert this into a legible, concise digital document to review further in the project.

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 4 (Week commencing 11th February 2019)

    What we did

    • Visited a Northumberland based taxi operator

      • Interviewed the company owner and a taxi driver for the firm. Aiming to understand from an operator’s perspective what they do for taxi applications, pain points specific to them and their organisation, plus their thoughts on future improvements.

    • Shadowing of Northumberland licensing team

      • To see first-hand how taxi license applications are processed by the licensing team, the staff and systems involved and the pain points that occur. And to understand how this compares to the information provided by Northumberland taxi operators and drivers)

    • Service mapping workshop for Northumberland County council;

    • Visited a Gateshead based taxi operator

      • Interviewed the company owner.

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 3 (week commencing 4th February 2019)

    What we did

    • Establishing how to run a survey with the public/residents;

    • Creation of two surveys; one for the public and another for local authorities;

    • Creation of recruitment doc for each local authority;

    • Planning of journey service mapping workshops;

      • Discussing what we wanted to achieve from the mapping workshops, the best approach to take to gain insights and to engage with each council.

    • Service mapping workshops for Sunderland council and Gateshead council respectively.;

      • To get an understanding of the current as-is process involved for driver, vehicle and operator licenses, from both the frost-stage perspective of the driver and front-line staff, along with the back-stage process that are required to complete the process. including the emotions, pain points and opportunities for improvement.

      • For face to face interviews at the premises, to get an insight into how they work, their overall experience with taxi applications and the tools utilised.

    • Shadowing at Gateshead Council

      • To see first-hand how taxi license applications are processed (and how this compares to the service maps we created), the staff and systems involved and the pain points that occur.

    • Taxi operator recruitment

    • Show and tell

      • Playback of the first few weeks of the project, what we’d been up to, why we did and what we’ll be doing next.

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 2 (week commencing 28st January 2019)

    What we did

    • Collation and review of kick-off workshop outputs;

    • Creation of a research plan for each council;

    • Sunderland focus group session with x6 taxi drivers, shadowing licensing team, customer services team and admin staff;   

      • To get an understanding, from the perspective of a taxi driver, of the process they have to go through to obtain or renew a taxi licence, their pain points and the challenges they face, along with their suggestions for future developments.

    • Shadowing of Sunderland’s licensing team

      • To see first-hand how taxi license applications are processed, the staff and systems involved and the pain points that occur.

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Orange Bus are working with Gateshead, Northumberland and Sunderland councils following a successful bid to deliver a discovery for taxi licensing applications.

    The status updates that follow provide a high-level overview of the collaborative work that has been delivered jointly.

    Week 1 (week commencing 21st January 2019)

    What we did

    • Desk research to get an early understanding of the current process and what’s available.

    • Kick-off workshop with stakeholders from all authorities (licensing and digital teams)

      • To bring all three councils together to generate a clear project direction, establish stakeholders, a project purpose, the potential challenges, and recruitment opportunities.

      • Benefits realisation (establishing the low, medium and high priority benefits);

      • Establishing what we know, how do we know it and what we need to find out;

      • Stakeholder analysis mapping;

      • Establishing critical success factors;

      • Refining scope and creation of mission statement;

    • Establishing methods for utilising findings;

    • Understanding what else is happening across the UK.