Dorset Council onboarding with 365 Response Flexiroute

January 16, 2023

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We had the pleasure of having Mike Herrin (Project Manager, Digital Transformation and Innovation) from Dorset Council who agreed to do an interview with us, sharing their onboarding experience with 365 Response and plans for the future and beyond with the 365 DRT (Demand Responsive Transport) Flexiroute System. 

What were the key metrics used in your selection process for a provider?

Mike: During the whole provider selection process, we maintained a systematic approach to choosing the right provider to meet the needs of the business and our customers.

We procured your services through G Cloud 12 but the first stage in our procurement process
was building a prioritised requirements list. We compiled this from all of our users and their perspective from a travel point of view, as well as other relevant stakeholders so that we captured a complete holistic view of users’ requirements.

After that, we broke it down to deliverable requirements within each provider’s acceptance criteria, and then they were prioritised according to must-haves, should haves, could haves, and don’t have this time.

How did you come to choose 365 Response?

Mike: The first gateway was cost, as demonstrated through the g-cloud framework. The second was from reviewing documentation on the g-cloud platform and broadly matching our requirements against the standard documents held within the framework. It was easy for us as we went through it this way and meant that there was no haggling over different things in terms of rates or services and conditions etc. After that what we then did was put forward our absolute must-haves in demonstrable scenarios. Your demonstration was scored against the PRL / scenarios by as many people representing a broad group of stakeholders.

365 Response scored the highest in terms of our matrix, met our expectations for what we were looking for from our scoring, and that’s effectively what it came down to. 

What is the key task at hand and how do you think the 365 DRT solution will help you with that?

Mike: From my observations of how Dorset travel has functioned and from the definitions of the project that were given to me, we are essentially looking at improving ease of use and delivering efficiency savings in terms of the service overall for the Dorset Council areas; supporting parents, children and adults.

We’re also cutting out workarounds and will be redesigning processes in the incumbent system. We are also focussing on getting a better grip on the costs of travel that we provide and being able to forecast accurately the money that we are going to spend in future.

So that is the reason that we needed to go for a new system that would give all of this, and provide us with those benefits.

The overall outcome we’re expecting to see is that we will have a good handle on costs, seeing where we spend most money delivering the service as well as having the ability to do cost reporting so that we can better plan delivery whilst being able to respond to changes quickly.

Moving from old processes to new – What will this new way of working look like for your team?

Mike: The very first thing is to actually get the system installed, and get people trained up and using it consistently which may happen in several different stages but that is yet to be decided. 

As we begin the new financial year, this is when it starts to get really busy with travel being arranged for pupils primarily, and that’s where schools and transport coordinators want to have the system in so that they’re not trying to run 2 systems in parallel.  

Once the system is fully mobilised, we will then start looking at the processes and who does what, working closely with our service designer.

They will develop processes with the business that reflects what should happen and when I say the business; that means Dorset travel, the finance team, and the contractors. 

Our service designers typically come up with ideas about how things could be done differently, and analyse the main contact points, the hand-offs, and contact times. They’ll then look to streamline the process so we get extra efficiencies out of it that way, but we can’t do that until people know how to use the system and are actually using it, so that we can observe the things that they’re doing and provide feedback. 

Looking beyond and plans ahead

Mike: For us, we’re constantly in this continuous improvement cycle, where we’re receiving the necessary feedback, developing ideas, and then driving necessary changes so that we can provide the best possible service. 

Our aim is to try to deliver these kinds of projects in a more agile way, so it’s going to be these iterative improvements during the whole life cycle of the project which this system will really help us with going forward.

This year is going to be extremely busy for us as we start to implement change and see some of the impact this solution brings to our service, but we’re looking forward to seeing the full benefits of the system when we eventually get into the full swing of using it.

We’re thrilled to welcome onboard Dorset Council as the newest member of our 365, FlexirouteDRT  family and are really looking forward to supporting them in the delivery of efficient and cost-effective transport for the residents of Dorset. 

If you’d like to know more about our Flexiroute Solution, please visit our 
website for more or email us on hello@365response.org

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