Case Study

North Devon Council

Creating a website fit for the Homelessness Reduction Act.

Since the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act, there has been a greater emphasis on the role of advice in the offer made by local authority housing options teams. The Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government (MHCLG) have increasingly been paying attention to the advice made available through council websites.

North Devon Council are proud of their award winning website. So when they were advised by the MHCLG that the housing options pages were somewhat lacking in advice and guidance for customers with housing concerns; finding a solution became a top priority. The authority recognised their offering needed improvement and liked what they saw in the AdviceAid module: SelfServ (see righthand side panel).


North Devon were looking for a way of providing tailored advice relevant to a particular person’s needs, that was also guaranteed to be legislatively correct and accurate. Following the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act, the team were concerned about the range and scale of expected queries and the pressure on their service through increased demand.

It was felt AdviceAid would take some of the volume of enquiries away from advisors, whilst still facilitating online case requests where appropriate. They were attracted by the simple set-up and customer focused interface.


We worked closely with North Devon as beta-testers of the SelfServ module. They provided valuable feedback to ensure the tool met their stringent standards and expectations, benefitting all future AdviceAid users. The advice was localised with relevant information specific to their area, this is now fully self-managed through the AdviceAid admin dashboard.

“The AdviceAid team has proven very attentive in relation to implementation and instructions on the customer set up requirements. It has gone very smoothly and we have had no real down time.”

Richard Fowler, North Devon Council.


North Devon now have a website interface that is up-to-date in look and functionality; is interactive; easy to use; and is helping their customer select situations relevant to them, ensuring they get advice and guidance that’s relevant to their circumstances.

Importantly for the North Devon team, post setup, there is literally no more management for them to do. The advice is updated and maintained by AdviceAid.

Invited to look at the implementation of AdviceAid, the MHCLG are now recommending North Devon’s website as an example of best practice, encouraging other housing options teams to review their own websites against it!

It is important that our website provides really useful guidance and advice. AdviceAid helps us deliver interactive self-help, 24/7; as well as the flexibility that we can localise the information.

Richard Fowler (North Devon Council)

What is SelfServ?

SelfServ is one of two AdviceAid modules. It provides end-user advice from the local authority’s website.
The customer goes on a short, interactive journey to establish their needs. Advice relevant to their circumstances is then provided, which they are able to print or email. The advice contained within AdviceAid is created by a team of legal experts, is easy to read and outcome focused.
Read more.

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