Stirling Council launches online Benefits and Employment Advice Platform
Stirling Council recently launched the Better Off platform which will seek to significantly improve the way customers access benefits and employment advice.
The Better Off web-platform, which was developed by Kirklees Council, will show customers the benefits they are entitled to and will provide help to apply for them online. Better Off also provides information on how to find and apply for jobs.
The web platform, which can be directly accessed from the Council’s website, will offer secure and confidential access to our customers and partners across a range of channels, including PC, tablet and mobile phone. It will provide tools that allows the user to self-serve, while guiding them through the various processes. Libraries across the Stirling region will offer access to the platform.
Our aim is to put money in people’s pockets faster. The tools include:
- An income maximisation calculator, enabling customers to find out what benefits they are entitled to.
- Applications and appeals, to apply for a benefit or appeal a benefit decision.
- Employment advice, search for jobs and volunteering opportunities and record your job search activity.
- Advice on finding jobs, childcare, budgeting and debt issues.
Each of these tools come with guidance written by experienced advice staff, which we believe will improve the customer journey and empower users to self-serve and maximise their income.
Better Off should also reduce footfall in contact centres and the need for Face-to-Face appointments, allowing advisors to devote their time and effort to working with vulnerable claimants who cannot self-serve.
The tools only ask for supporting evidence which is relevant to the customer's details and enable them to provide this online.
In launching this tool we know that we are only at the start of a journey. However, we will develop the tools and associated processes over time to ensure that we, our partners and most importantly our customers get the maximum benefit.
The platform is being launched ahead of Scottish Financial Capability Week, running from 13th to 19th November, which will seek to encourage people to talk about money. Throughout the week, Stirling Council, alongside a wide variety of organisations and policy makers from across Scotland, will highlight the ways they are helping people to develop financial skills and knowledge, change their money mindset and ensure there are inclusive and accessible services.
We would like to give our Third Sector partners the opportunity to find out how the tool can be promoted and used as a resource to benefit our shared customer base. We will seek an appropriate forum to do that, or set up a specific meeting.