Digital Experts, Transformation and Channel Shift Programmes

Our digital funded programmes support councils to innovate and improve digital service.

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Over the past four years the LGA has funded four programmes, each with a different focus. Sixty-eight projects were funded involving 100 councils using digital tools and solutions to redesign and improve access to services. Projects have included improving online licensing applications, developing business intelligence and redesigning online housing forms. As well as significantly improving how services are designed and delivered online for residents and local businesses, these projects enable staff and members to work more effectively both in and out of the office. The estimated savings from these programmes are currently in excess of £4.5 million.

Digital Experts programme

We put in place the LGA Digital Experts funding programme in 2014/15 to help more councils benefit from the digital approaches already delivered elsewhere. The LGA funded 27 projects supporting 42 councils as part of this programme.

Blackpool Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Blackpool developed fully integrated online processes for its high-volume waste management transactions, including bulky waste collection requests, missed bin reports and fly-tipping notifications.

Case study: Achieving channel shift in waste management

Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Local Resilience Forum (BDP LRF)

Amount granted: £25,000

This project proposed the introduction of an automated call cascade system that would assist the partners involved in the BDP LRF to communicate effectively, before, during and after a major incident.

Case study: Dorset Local Resilience Forum

Christchurch and East Dorset Councils

Amount granted: £10,000

Christchurch and East Dorset bid for the LGA’s Digital Experts funding to help introduce a solution that would offer customers full online functionality to apply and pay for licences via the dorsetforyou site.

Case study: East Dorset and Christchurch: Online licensing project

Dacorum Borough Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Dacorum Borough Council worked with university researchers to identify behavioural patterns in the use of online services and to understand how different groups respond to different financial and non-financial incentives to use online services.

Case study: Understanding and implementing effective channel shift

Dorset County Council and all six district/borough councils in Dorset

Amount granted: £25,000

This project used the latest digital design principles to reduce complexity by focusing on the information that customers really need to do their business online. They adopted a more transactional approach to service provision via the internet and made services accessible via different devices.

Case study: Dorset County and Districts digital renewal

Essex County Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Adult Services in Essex, working closely with local partners and communities, have further developed the Living Well Essex website. The site provides a wide range of information, guidance and signposting for people who may start to require help. It aims to enable independence and self-sufficiency through ‘self-directed support'. Enhancements include making the site accessible on mobile devices and producing printer-friendly page designs.

Case study: Enhancing the Living Well Essex website

Gloucestershire and Gloucester City

Amount granted: £10,000

Gloucester City Council developed and implemented a ‘My Council / Report it' App which allows its customers to utilise mobile technology to identify a range of issues.

Case study: 'My Council / Report it' digital app

Lancaster City, Preston City and Fylde Borough Council

Amount granted: £25,000

Across three councils, this project  aimed to create a ‘digital contact centre', with a single sign-on that gave residents access to a self-service ‘one-stop-shop' portal containing all the information and services relevant to them based on their post code.

Case study: Fylde, Preston and Lancaster and single sign-on portal

Luton Borough Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Luton introduced an e-bundling system for the production, delivery and handling of court documents.

Case study: Luton digital e-bundling system report

Milton Keynes Council

Amount granted: £10,000

The council developed a network of Digital Champions to help those residents without the necessary skills or confidence to go online by providing the support and practical assistance to do so.

Case study: Milton Keynes Digital Champion project

Newcastle City Council

Amount granted: £10,000

The aim of this project was to significantly enhance the council's skills and capacity in agile project management.

Case study: Newcastle City Council Agile project management

Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Newcastle-under-Lyme developed a customer portal for council tax and business rates. This offered greater convenience for residents, allowing them to self-serve for basis enquiries.

Case study: Developing a customer self-service portal for council tax

North Warwickshire Borough Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council

Amount granted: £25,000

These councils applied for funding to enable them to launch a new, jointly hosted web site that was mobile friendly and had a responsive design. The online forms utilised by the councils would also be reviewed and streamlined and other services, such as webchat, would be investigated.

Case study: Connected Customers’ project

Reading Borough Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Reading developed a digital volunteering scheme to encourage more people to do their council business online as well as to promote greater digital inclusion.

Case study: Get Online Reading – digital volunteering

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Amount granted: £10,000

As part of its corporate ‘Enhancing Our Service Offer’ programme and its approach to assisted digital and supported self-service, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has piloted a live web chat capability.

Case study: Implementing live web chat

Solihull MBC

Amount granted: £10,000

This project focused on helping to drive forward the implementation of online self-service e-bookings and e-payment in 13 service areas.

Case study: Solihull online self-service project

South Holland and Breckland District Councils

Amount granted: £25,000

This project focused on providing a common online ‘book and pay' facility. This facility would  operate across a range of services and would allow residents and businesses to access these services via different devices, as well as at council offices on a self-service basis or with assisted support. The second aim of the project was to provide support on using digital technology for residents visiting the councils' customer service centres.

Case study: Common online ‘book and pay' facility

Southampton Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Southampton City Council is developing it’s website to fully tap the local population's capacity for online self-service. Live web chat was seen as a way to support residents and help reduce the number of online forms abandoned before completion. The project has enabled the council to build a target operating model for web chat, including where and how it would appear on the website and who would staff it.

Case study: Supporting residents with live web chat

Stafford Borough Council and Cannock Chase Council

Amount granted: £25,000

Cannock Chase and Stafford Borough councils wanted to leverage their shared services partnership, as well as the work already done by Stafford through its MyCouncilServices mobile working system, to enable both new and existing e-forms to be delivered for a range of services via apps on smartphones and/or tablets.

Case study: Providing access to e-forms via smartphones at Cannock Chase and Stafford Borough Councils

Staffordshire County Council

Amount granted: £25,000

Staffordshire has worked in partnership with district councils across the county to develop a MyStaffsApp smartphone app, offering access to a range of services. The participating councils have been able to integrate their back-office systems according to local priorities.

Case study: Staffordshire County Council: Making services available via MyStaffsApp

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Recognising that lack of awareness and information about local opportunities was a barrier to residents engaging with preventative services, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council supported volunteer members from its Over 50s Assembly to become digital advocates.

Case study: Using volunteers to promote online preventative services

Test Valley Borough Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Test Valley Council replaced its existing CRM system with an online Citizen Access tool for council tax, allowing residents to view account details, submit changes of address, apply for or cancel a single person discount, set up a direct debit or sign up for e-billing.

Case study: Handling council tax via a Citizen Access tool

Thurrock Council

Amount granted: £10,000

The council wished to extend its online Parent Portal offer to improve the customer experience and staff productivity. It bid for funding to provide a new online self-service functionality for parents to check their eligibility and apply for free school meals or to check their eligibility for funded early education places for eligible two year olds.

Case study: Thurrock online free school meals and early education project

Westminster City Council, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Amount granted: £25,000

ThisDigital Experts project, which is still underway, has focused on enhancing an already existing but basic mobile app to allow staff on the move to securely view case documents and add or amend case notes on the Frameworki case management system.

Case study: Tri-borough: Enhancing and implementing an adult social care app

Wirral Council

Amount granted: £10,000

This project involved redesigning the Wirral Council website to make it more user friendly, responsive and able to work effectively on any device. This included redesigning their online forms.

Case study: Improving the Wirral website

Wyre Council

Amount granted: £10,000

Building on earlier successful work on benefits, the council focused on reducing costs and improving access to services by introducing integrated e-forms for council tax, linked to the existing back-office system. Council officers have also been trained as ‘digital champions', supporting residents to use online applications.

Case study: Increasing self-service through e-forms

Digital Transformation programme

The Digital Transformation Programme was set up to help fund councils to develop digital solutions to support their wider work on national programmes of transformation including, the integration of health and social care, Troubled Families, Welfare Reform and Public Health.

The aim was to develop digital tools and solutions that can be reused by other councils and support the wider work to transform local public services. 15 projects, involving 30 councils, were successful in their bids for funding.

Adur & Worthing Council and West Sussex County Council

Amount granted: £39,760

Adur and Worthing Councils, working with local partners including GP surgeries, West Sussex County Council and Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, have developed a digital solution to support their pilot community referral initiative, known as ‘Going Local’.

Cambridgeshire County Council & Peterborough City Council

Amount granted: £40,000

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough “Local Information Platform” is a partnership project that aims to ensure that health and social care information and advice provided to shared customers will be consistent, accurate and comprehensive regardless of the channel used or the partner organisation contacted. Developing and maintaining data standards and data collection pathways enable this.

Cumbria County Council

Amount granted: £25,000

This is a project to integrate data from GPs and the local authority social care record. This helps ensure a streamlined service, quick sharing of information and facilitates joined up care for the individual.

Dorset County Council

Amount granted: £25,000

Dorset developed a Business Intelligence Digital Dashboard to offer professionals a more efficient way to access children’s records. This helps to provide a more effective service by allowing professionals to make earlier interventions and which improves outcomes and also reduces or avoids potential future costs.

Case study: Children’s services digital dashboard

East Sussex County Council

Amount granted: £25,000

As part of its Expanded Troubled Families programme, East Sussex County Council has worked with key partners to reduce the manual handling of data and to target families more effectively through its innovative use of digital technology, including data matching and predictive analytics.

Case study: Matching data to support troubled families: East Sussex County Council

Leeds City Council and Calderdale Council

Amount granted: £40,000

This project worked in collaboration with the Ripple programme to deliver definitions of open data standards that can underpin an open platform for local government and support the interoperability between health and social care.

London Borough of Bexley

Amount granted: £25,000

Bexley Council aimed to extend and improve their Troubled Families partner portal. The project looked at enhancing their data analytics system and linking data across Employment and Skills, Housing and Troubled Families to facilitate early intervention and tackle financial exclusion.

London Borough of Camden

Amount granted: £25,000

Camden Council has used its work on the national Troubled Families Programme as a springboard for an ambitious project that brings together comprehensive information from a range of systems to help frontline workers provide a more effective and tailored service to all families in need residing in the borough.

Case study: Matching data to support troubled families

London Borough Of Hounslow

Amount granted: £25,000

This project aimed to develop a multi-agency intelligence tool to identify the top 20 adults with complex needs and chaotic lives. This information will be used to better understand their needs and improve prevention work to improve outcomes.

North Somerset Council

Amount granted: £25,000

In response to the national Troubled Families Programme, North Somerset Council’s Predicting Early Interventions project aimed to create new digital tools that would analyse family-specific data in the local area. The resulting system supports the early identification of families with multiple complex needs, allowing for a range of tailored interventions to be delivered.

Case study: Predicting early interventions: North Somerset Council

Northumberland Council

Amount granted: £25,000

In this project Northumberland County Council added a number of additional features to their existing Public Health Portal in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health professionals and consequently to improve the services offered to the public.

Thurrock Council

Amount granted: £25,000

This project aimed to integrate various sources of health and social care data to maintain a population health system. This could be used to identify groups at risks, forecast demand on services and engage in early intervention. 

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, all Kent districts and Medway Council

Amount granted: £40,000

The Kent Homechoice partnership has developed and implemented three online tools to transform the way in which people across Kent and Medway gain access to homelessness support and the housing registers. The aim is to give residents better and more tailored advice about their housing options and to relieve the pressure on housing staff.

Case study: Providing digital support for housing and homelessness

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

Amount granted: £25,000

Wigan Council aimed to develop a system which would deliver a single view of a child’s record which is shared across multiple agencies. The resulting system delivers improved efficiencies across a range of support programmes (including children’s services, troubled families and community hubs) delivered in partnership across the area.

Case study: A single view of a child’s record

Worcestershire County Council

Amount granted: £25,000

Working with local partners, Worcestershire County Council has developed a smart, mobile-responsive, information-sharing ‘professionals portal’ that builds an accurate multi-agency picture of children and their families and supports the county’s Family Front Door initiative, which provides a single referral pathway for accessing council and partner support services.

Case study: Family front door - smart information-sharing portal

Digital Channel Shift programme

The LGA funded 21 projects supporting 23 councils to use digital tools and solutions for their work on channel shift. For example, redesigning specific services so they are available on different devices making it easier for citizens and businesses to self-serve. For example, online booking services available 24/7.

Bath & North East Somerset Council

Amount granted: £15,000

A project to develop a bot to categorise different types of highways defect and route them to the appropriate team. The user will receive acknowledgement and feedback on their report.

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Redesigning the taxi licensing service for delivery online. Users will be able to access licence holder records through the MyCalderdale customer account.

Case study: Self-service taxi licensing in Calderdale

Cheltenham Borough Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Developing an online self-service licensing platform to enable customers submit and pay for applications 24/7. This will be integrated with existing systems to ensure the process works seamlessly from end to end.

Case study: Self-service licensing drives channel shift

City of Lincoln & North Kesteven

Amount granted: £15,000

These two councils aimed to integrate forms and back office systems to allow Revenues and Benefits customers to self-serve.

Case study: Self-service delivers channel shift in revenues

City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

Amount granted: £15,000

This project aimed to develop a system where potholes could be reported by residents. The technology will allow the pothole to be located using mapping technology and allow the customer to track progress in fixing the defect.

Case study: Focusing on potholes to accelerate channel shift

East Suffolk Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Improving their self-service portal by joining up separate services and achieve “single sign-on approach”. The aim of the project is to include access to Revs and Bens information through the single sign-on.

Case study: East Suffolk simplifies access to revenues and benefits

Elmbridge Borough Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Developing a service where council tax customers can opt-in to a service that sends an SMS alert when payment is due or they have an appointment. These alerts contain a link to an online account where customers can manage their bills.

Case study: GOV.UK Notify for council tax reminders

Gloucestershire County Council

Amount granted: £15,000

A project at Gloucestershire Archives allowing customers to register online for access to the research room and to order documents.

Case study: Gloucestershire transforms access to archives

Harlow District Council

Amount granted: £15,000

A project to introduce, promote and expand an online portal for businesses, residents and landlords to view at a variety of revenues and benefits information.

Case study: Driving self-service in revenues and benefits

Lichfield District Council

Amount granted: £15,000

A project to put in place a new online service for revenues and benefits customers. Functions will include allowing customers to apply for single person council tax discount, housing benefits and notifying the council of a change in circumstances.

Case study: Customers keen to self-serve

Liverpool City Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Developing an online booking service for cemetery and cremation services services that allows funeral directors to self-serve and manage their own booking slots.

Case study: Self-service booking for funeral directors in Liverpool

Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Newcastle have developed a bot that allows residents to apply for a permit to access household waste and recycling centres.

Case study: Chatbots for channel shift: WasteBot

North Yorkshire County Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Developing an online portal to report and track public realm issues. There is functionality for Parish Councillors and Clerks to see a map showing the reports and status of a range of public realm issues, e.g. street lighting, potholes, flooding, pavement and highway defects. 

Case study: Parish Portal takes highways ‘super customers’ online

Portsmouth City Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Implementing online accounts for children's social care services to provide young people and their careers with general information about the services they receive and specific information for them.

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Amount granted: £15,000

A project to drive online take-up of e-forms through MyAccount in two service areas; council tax and waste management. This project focussing on customer engagement, marketing and behaviour change to use existing systems.

Case study: A behavioural approach to digital channel shift

Scarborough Borough Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Introducing a communication and tracking system into the Council's refuse vehicle fleet for both residential and business collections. Combined with new, enhanced online forms this will optimise collection rounds and provide near real-time information exchange.

Case study: Transforming and digitising the refuse and recycling service

Sunderland City Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Redesigning the online environmental services offer for customers who want to report environmental issues or request services such as bulk waste collection. This will involve redesigning web pages, integrating with Fix My Street and introducing Bartec (in-cab technology) into refuse vehicles.

Case study: Digital transformation in waste services

Torbay Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Purchasing and implementing APIs to automate council tax back-office processes, starting with change of address. This will enable full end-to-end online processing.

Case study: Online forms and automation in council tax

Waverley Borough Council

Amount granted: £15,000

Upgrading a range of online forms for key council services. This process will include redesigning customer journeys, creating mobile-responsive forms and investigating required integrations.

Case study: Delivering excellent online forms

West Sussex County Council

Amount granted: £7,000

Developing an optional checklist and online application for people applying for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment. This will include improving web content and producing a video to sits alongside these forms.

Case study: Transforming the customer experience in SEND

For further information about these programmes, please contact [email protected]