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ScanStation is the new end-to-end self-serve document scanning platform developed by Kirklees Council and its technology partners LookingLocal.

Developing a new, transformative digital platform in-house is no easy feat. However, Kirklees Council has gone through the many stages and trial and error in terms of the design, development and rollout required to make ScanStation a robust, reliable and user-friendly system.

Below are the top six things the Customer Service Team learnt and improved upon during the ScanStation development journey:

  1. Photos over scans

    Photographs of documents are a faster and viable alternative to scanned documents. The original scope was that the technology would deliver scans, but having assessed various software packages a change in approach was agreed when the team saw the quality produced and even that misshapen, curled documents still delivered good digital files.

  2. Finding the perfect cradle

    The ScanStation app is accessible via a tablet and the tablet sits within a secure cradle attached to a table or stand. Designing the perfect cradle to fit the tablets again was a journey of trial and error. Modifications were made along the way to the bespoke metalwork design, firstly to stop mischievous customers from using the camera for ‘selfies’ (people just couldn’t help themselves!) and then to ensure the tablets were locked down sufficiently.

    Scanstation cradle

  3. Digitally categorising document types


    The original approach to the ScanStation app was that it would simply take a picture/scan of the document and connect it with the relevant claim. This seemed straightforward. But this turned out to create more work for back office staff as documents needed categorising into ‘document types’. Indexing and categorising had previously been done at the front-end so this was an added stage. To resolve the issue, the app was adapted to create a new layer in the process, requiring customers to choose a document type each time they took a photo of a document (e.g. passport,).

  4. The reality of the digital customer

    At the start of the project, there were doubts about how many customers would actually be able to self-scan. Research undertaken with over 200 customers sought to understand what devices they had, how often they used them, what percentage of people could upload pictures themselves and who might need help. This helped the team understand the potential floor walking support requirements and happily showed that 75% of all customers are able to self-serve either with little or no help.

  5. Staying awake

    The tablets not the customers! Generally, all tablets go to sleep after a period of inactivity. We needed the app to ‘stay live’, colourful and appealing at all times, not showing a black screen which might look as if it was switched off or not working. After some specific work on this issue, customer service staff are now able to centrally control the devices and their behaviour.

  6. Secure for all

    ScanStation is used to scan sensitive and private documents. Kirklees needed to ensure that the no photos of documents were held in the tablet’s memory but to wipe them after every transaction. Also for security reasons, Kirklees has ensured that an alert appears after a short period of inactivity saying that the transaction will be cleared if the customer did not interact with the app within a certain amount of time. This ensures that a stranger isn’t able to enter someone else’s login due to the transaction being abandoned.

Read more about how the ScanStation works.

ScanStation is now live to the public and there will be changes and improvements to come. Kirklees Council is really pleased with the result and confident it has built something that will make a difference, in saving time, resource and increasing customer satisfaction. And the potential is big:

Scanstation figures

In an effort to share best practice and commercialise what they have developed, ScanStation is available to other local authority looking to reduce customer service queues and make significant savings. It is available via G-Cloud or for more information including potential savings for your council then please email scanstation@lookinglocal.gov.uk

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