Creating an easy way to apply for trading standards checked status

KCC needed to move their scheme away from Checkatrade

The Problem/Challenge

Kent County Council (KCC) operate a Trading Standards Checked (“approved trader”) scheme for residents of Kent. This allows the public to contract trades such as plumbers, carpenters, builders etc with the reassurance that they have been officially checked and vetted by the team at KCC. Previously the application service and directory was delivered by CheckaTrade. The offering was no longer fit for purpose and KCC engaged with us after a tender process to help them develop an online portal to facilitate the scheme. Traders would be able to apply online and access a members area once approved. Consumers would then be able to search for approved traders and send enquiries.

Our Approach

Working with a fixed budget initially, we had a kick off workshop with the KCC Trading Standards Team to understand how they currently manage approved traders currently, specifically the process of applying and checking businesses. Our remit was to build an online portal to allow traders to submit applications, access a members area and allow consumers to find approved traders. The portal needed to communicate with KCC’s existing case management system supplied by Civica. We met with Civica in London to understand their system in more detail and the API we would use to pass data to and from their tool. We involved the UX and Design team at our sister company, Red Bullet, to deliver the user interface design and branding for the portal. With a tight deadline for the first phase of work, we coordinated the project output across the multi-disciplinary team.

The Solution

We delivered the portal to allow traders to apply for “Standards Checked” membership from KCC. The application process is fairly involved and we needed to ensure the process was as simple as possible to complete. Users can save their progress and return to complete the form. We successfully integrated our solution with GovPay for payment and Civica’s system for handling the checks KCC did. Once approved, Traders could access a members area to manage their public profile and view useful resources provided by KCC. Consumers can search the directory of approved traders and easily submit enquiries.

The solution was delivered on time and on budget. Throughout we provided our thoughts on the best way to deliver different aspects of the functionality.

Shaping the Outcome

As we worked on the core requirement, new ideas and better ways of completing aspects came to light. Once launched, we quickly evolved a phase 2 spec with KCC and implemented improvements to the system, not least a discount system to allow previously listed CheckaTrade customers to get discounted membership to KCC’s scheme. With the sudden onset of the Coronavirus crisis, we also helped create a “FREE” sign up option for traders as a gesture to help them in the turbulent times.

We continue to work with KCC on the support and evolution of the portal.

Take a look here: View Portal

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