Firmstep’s AchieveForms Solution Drives Harlow Council’s Taxi Check Live!™ Service
Published by PSN for Firmstep in Local Government
Harlow Council has reported on the success of its Taxi Check Live!™ service, which allows people to check instantly via a smartphone or PC whether a taxi is licensed. The new service, designed and developed by Harlow Council, launched in June this year, was built using AchieveForms from Firmstep, a leader in online service solutions for local government, and has been accessed by nearly 950 individuals in just five months.
The Taxi Check Live! service is accessible from a smart phone, tablet or PC by browsing to www.harlow.gov.uk/tcl, or by scanning the Taxi Check Live! QR code which is displayed at taxi ranks and in licensed premises around Harlow. This loads an easy-to-use webpage, created in AchieveForms, into which the user types the taxi’s registration number.
Firmstep’s AchieveForms then links directly to the Council’s taxi licensing system and, using live data, shows a user either a green tick, showing that the taxi or private hire vehicle is currently licensed; or a red cross, meaning the vehicle is not licensed with Harlow Council.
Following the success of the service, which has been endorsed by Essex Police and local public safety organisations and charities, Firmstep and the Council are working with neighbouring authorities in Essex and the wider Local Government sector to make the service available across the county. The application is being further developed to expand the information available to include the make, model and colour of licensed vehicles, helping to further reassure users.
Steve Drewett, Web Applications Officer for Harlow Council said: “The service is unique and has proven to be a real success, with user numbers growing all the time. Because it’s easy to use and always up to date, it is ideal for anyone who wants to be assured they are about to use a fully-licensed taxi or private hire vehicle. Also, because the service was developed in-house by the Harlow Council’s ICT and Licensing teams, with software that we are already using, we have been able to deliver it at no additional cost to Harlow residents. It’s a great example of how the right tools can unlock the data held in Council systems, to bring real benefits to members of the public.”
Councillor Ian Beckett, Chair of Harlow Council’s Licensing Committee said “We are using mobile phone technology to give residents and visitors the peace of mind that they are using a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle in Harlow. We are always working with local taxi and private hire companies to maintain high standards and this is another way of making people feel safe when travelling around the town”.
Harlow Council has been using Firmstep solutions for over 10 years, including AchieveForms to help it manage interactions with citizens, and the AchieveCommunity web content management system. When Taxi Check Live! was proposed early in 2012, the Council’s ICT team realised that AchieveForms could enable the secure, live web access and queries to its taxi licensing database, and was able to quickly build and launch the application.