Automation with a human touch

The digital age that we live in is ever advancing at an incredible rate. With the introduction of automation, productivity is enhanced, and the bottom line is ultimately maximised. But what happens when, for some reason, data has been entered incorrectly by a claimant and the system is then unable to accurately verify it against the database?

Ordinarily, these cases would be sent back to the council for them to clarify and amend themselves, but here at Govtech, we do things a bit differently and uniquely. We have a team dedicated to dealing with this very scenario, keeping any Local Authority intervention to an absolute minimum, thus augmenting the overall automation benefit for our customers.

Meet the Service Team

Comedians, parents, dance teachers, gamers, ex-military personnel, nature conservationists, fitness fanatics, musicians, foodies, and animal enthusiasts are just a few ways to describe the thirteen wonderfully varied Data Quality Assessors who make up Govtech’s largest team. Overall, we are a fun collaboration of people, although admittedly the standard of jokes told rarely surpasses the ‘dad joke’ level and punch lines are often followed by a resounding groan. 

Despite being such a diverse group of personalities, there is strong focus on teamwork and to use the term, ‘family’ would be no word of exaggeration when it comes to our tight knit group who share recipes, funny stories, advice and above all encouragement whenever required. It is unusual to work in an environment where everyone genuinely gets along at both a professional and a social level, whilst at the same time, feeling fully supported by colleagues and management in equal measure, but this is the very fortunate situation we in the service team get to experience every day. 

Morale is usually very high and on an average day, light relaxed conversation and shared laughter fills the office. On more demanding business days where the volume of work is at a much higher level, the buzz in the office quiets down as the team share responsibility towards the workload and everyone, without exception, is committed to meeting targets, remaining within agreed SLAs, and passionate about working towards delivering an excellent service to all our customers.

But what exactly do we do?

There are several things that can be flagged as discrepancies by the system which will result in the need for a human response. Some situations, like the same claimant and leaver on a sole occupier discount form, or a claim to set up a Direct Debit where the claimant can only be found at a nearby property and not at the property declared on the form, are regrettably things that will need to be unmatched by the team and sent back to the relevant councils for further review. 

Far more common, however, are errors on selected addresses, incomplete postcodes, and perhaps most frequently, inconsistencies or variations of stated names. This can be anything from people going by their married name on the form but only found under their maiden name on the database, shortened versions of full names, e.g. Jezza for Jeremy or Babs for Barbara, or the strange occurrence, that we actually see far too often, of someone putting their forename in full but only the first initial of their surname, e.g. David P.

On encountering one of these anomalies, the Data Quality Assessor proceeds with a quick investigation to find and verify the correct person to match to. Simply weighing up the partial or incorrect data provided against other information can help with this matching quest. A matching account ref, other people listed on the form that have the same surname as the claimant, or consecutive party refs, are just a few things that aid this process.

Once the data has been verified and correctly matched by the service team, those previously problematic forms that would have otherwise been clogging up an inbox awaiting the attention of an already overstretched Revenues or Benefits officer in the council, adding to their busy workload, are instead sent out as fully completed transactions. 

Part of the bigger picture

With an average of around four thousand forms dealt with daily by Govtech’s service team, it is not surprising that we occasionally get referred to as the ‘last line of defence.’ The distinctive value of having a service team to handle the more complex or erroneous forms only reinforces the overall efficiency of Govtech’s automation services.

On a personal note, I couldn’t be prouder to manage this team and consider it an absolute privilege. Not only are they hardworking and extremely loyal, but they are invested in seeing the company they work for thrive, partaking and sharing in every success, and this is evident in the way they approach each day.

…Now all that remains is for them to improve on the terrible dad jokes! 

Victoria Blackman
Service Quality Manager


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