Submitting an annual business waste duty of care form CONCEPT

Project details:

Organisation Dorset County Council
Department Digital Team and Dorset Waste Partnership
Collaboration Level Share Ideas
Budget £0K > £50K
Key Contact Mary Lester
Phase start 24 June 2019
Phase Estimated end 23 August 2019



This project is a design-led investigation into how we can improve the user experience and back-office efficiency of the annual commercial waste duty of care process for the Dorset Waste Partnership (part of the unitary Dorset Council).


What problem are we trying to solve?

The current process relies on c.4,500 customers of the business waste service being sent a pre-printed piece of paper that they then return with a signature; a small minority receive an emailed PDF that they have to print.  This information is manually recorded in the commercial waste management system and the paper is filed.  Customers and staff perceive the ‘Duty of Care’ period as unsatisfactory.


What other benefits do we expect from this work?

It is estimated that digitising the process could realise an annual cashable saving of around £7,500 and a similar value in efficiency savings.   

We think the discovery phase is likely to reveal further financial benefits alongside customer experience improvements, better customer retention/reduced business risk, and a better user experience for staff.  Chasing customers by phone for their paperwork often carries on for months.  Customers are aggravated by the process and many find themselves having to chase repeatedly for answers to problems or simple confirmation that their paperwork has been received.   Managers get dragged into resolving complaints, which is costly.  Similarly, staff in the commercial waste team and the call centre find the Duty of Care period stressful.  Customers who fail to return their paperwork are eventually put ‘on stop’, which is potential lost income for the service.  

In the words of one of the Commercial Development Officers, the aim of this improvement project is that “we want to be confident the commercial waste customers are legally compliant, with minimal staff intervention”.


Who are the users?

The key users of the service are the regular customers of Dorset Waste Partnership’s business waste service – those with a continuing contract in place.  These range from one-person businesses like small holiday lets to branches of large national chain shops.  However officers in the commercial waste team also have specific user needs in order to follow up on problem cases, the call centre team process mediated enquiries, and the commercial waste service managers need access to data about how the renewals are progressing each spring.


What is the technical background?

The Dorset Waste Partnership commercial waste service procured the Bartec AutoID system in October 2017, including in-cab technology.  The implementation has already allowed for the various expected benefits to be realised, including user-experience improvements to many of the existing online forms enabled by integrations between AutoID and the Achieve (Firmstep) forms/process platform.  Some changes have also led to greater service efficiency, for example garden waste customers cannot report a missed bin if the crew recorded the bin as ‘not out’. 


What are we going to do?

We want to understand what the options are for significant improvement of the resource-heavy current process:  what the benefits are of a locally-built solution compared to the possibilities offered by the edocs system or other off-the-shelf solutions; where the process savings are; how to make sure small businesses with limited digital capabilities are still supported etc.  We are aiming to carry out user research with a variety of commercial waste service customers to help design a user-focused solution.


Our current plan is:

  • Discovery (discover/define):  until 11th August 2019
  • Alpha (design/prototype/deliver iteration 1):  12th August to 31st October 2019
  • Beta (design iteration(s)/deliver iteration(s)):  1st November to 31st  December 2019
  • Live:  from 1st January 2020


We are keen to hear from anyone else who is working on a similar ‘digital signature’ project, especially if it is focused on commercial waste.  As it’s a statutory requirement to have the duty of care in place it feels like we can’t be the only council with this on the service improvement To Do list.




Status Updates