Bradford Council's use of video

As a network for practitioners in the sector, LocalGov Digital is keen to share case studies of good or innovative practice.

In this case study from Bradford Council, Digital Communications Development OfficerAlbert Freeman shares how the organisation created video to help people understand council benefits.

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Customers who receive Council benefits often contact us with questions about notification letters. As well as FAQs (which included both text and images), this year we have also made two videos.

These videos replicate, as far as possible, the experience of a customer service advisor talking through a benefit notification.

I wrote the scripts together with face-to-face staff, who knew the types of queries they got and how best to answer them. While writing the scripts, a colleague showed me an online video bill for her digital TV subscription. This both confirmed that we were onto a good idea, and also amazed me.

The video bill, delivered using Vimeo, isn’t just a generic overview of a bill. It is actually that customer’s own bill, in a video, complete with a breakdown of what they owe.

Our two videos are on the Bradford Council website, and on our YouTube channel, for customers to watch whenever, and wherever is suitable for them. We are also using the videos in our customer service centres, where customers can access them via the self-service PCs. We will soon be playing them on the plasma screens in our reception and waiting areas.

We have also made Slovakian and Urdu versions of the videos to address the needs of some of our residents whose first language is not English.

I feel the use of video for customer services in local government is only going to increase, whether that be FAQs like ours, personalised bills or live video chat. Because videos can be more accessible than text for some people, and online video is a preferred channel for the Millennial Generation, it should be at the front of our minds when considering digital customer services.

Council Tax Reduction Notice FAQs and video
Housing Benefit Decision Notice FAQs and video

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Is your council using video to help people understand your services? We’d love to share your examples and hear more about how you’ve created this content – including work you’ve done to make it suitable for all with alternative languages, captioning etc.

Get in touch by leaving a comment, tweeting us or finding us on G+ or KHub.