By replacing paper applications with online forms that can be filled in and submitted at a click of a button, My Falkirk has helped businesses, residents and council services access essential support during the pandemic.
Since March 2020, the platform has made it easier and quicker for businesses to apply for a range of Scottish Government grant funding that has proved a lifeline to many, with almost 5,700 applications submitted via My Falkirk for 13 funds.
To date, our Support for People call handlers have used the platform to refer nearly 6,200 individuals for support during isolation, with more than 500 individuals having applied for the self-isolation support grant online.
Currently, council services and community groups are using My Falkirk to refer people for data top ups to help them stay connected. More than 300 people had been referred by 1 April.
While at the height of the pandemic, My Falkirk, which is part of the Council of the Future Digital Communities project, provided a simple way for more than 400 council employees to volunteer their skills to support critical services under pressure.
Paul Livingstone, Digital Team Leader, said: "My Falkirk was already established as a trusted way to interact with our services online before the pandemic hit. That meant we had a platform in place that was not only recognisable to customers, but also a tool we could quickly and easily adapt to meet the rapidly changing needs of our services.
“The platform has proven critical to our organisation over the past 12 months, helping individuals and businesses access support while also minimising disruption to services by providing an online platform to engage with us."
Over 12,000 residents created a My Falkirk account from March 2020 to March 2021, taking the total number of people using the platform to nearly 50,000.
That means 41% of all households in the Falkirk Council area now use My Falkirk to request and receive council services online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Paying for Council Tax and rent online remain the top transactions on the site, followed closely by requests to replace a bin, report a missing bin, and request a bulky uplift.
Over the past 12 months, 35 services have been added to the platform, giving residents access to 106 services online. The latest additions include:
Paul said: “Since launching in 2016, My Falkirk has generated over £35m in income for the Council and currently collects £23 per minute each day. Those figures make it clear people can and do want to interact with us online, and the demand for digital services is only going to increase because COVID-19 has fundamentally changed people's views on cash handling and face-to-face interactions.”
Digital Communities is one of 23 Council of the Future projects that aim to modernise and improve services and help deliver on our corporate priorities – Communities, Enterprise and Innovation – and Digital Falkirk.