Working together to ensure an a cohesive, resident-focused approach to digital transformation
This page brings together resources to support council works with public, private and third sector partners to ensure an integrated, cohesive, and resident-focused approach to public sector digital transformation and digital service provision.
Resources and support
- Embedding cyber resilience in local government supply chains - the LGA has worked with PUBLIC and cyber security partner DAINTTA to develop online guidance to help councils embed greater cyber resilience in their procurement processes and supply chains.
- Digital Inclusion Programme - supports 10 councils to work with specific cohorts of residents to support those who haven’t had the skills, confidence or infrastructure to go online so they can benefit from the potential for digital tools and solutions to contribute to improving life outcomes.
- Transforming local services through digital - to explore the wider potential of digital tools, technologies and approaches to support ‘transformation’, which is the fundamental redesign of local services so that they deliver better outcomes, in a more targeted and timely fashion, at less cost.
- LGA digital programmes and resources - A hub that provides local government with best practice in the sector to support officers and councillors working on improving services through digital transformation and innovation.
Suffolk County Council launched Cassius, their county-wide digital care service in July 2021 delivered in partnership with Alcove and Rethink Partners. This was the culmination of several years of planning and research, the development of a digital care strategy and an extensive procurement process for a digital care partner (paused during COVID-19) that ran for over a year.
In 2017, the coastal flooding emergency at Jaywick Sands in Essex highlighted the need for a merging of data sources between the county council and the districts in order to best identify and evacuate vulnerable residents.
Over the COVID-19 pandemic local authorities met virtually to continue business politically and day to day activities. This case study hub will set out several notable examples and resources of councils that have piloted virtual meetings for political and non-political purposes using various video conferencing platforms signposting you to key points to consider and contacts.
Since 2014 Focus Gov has created digital services within social care and has quadrupled the number of local authorities they work with. The Care Leavers App helps Children's Services and Leaving Care Teams to engage their care leavers, provide key information such as the Local Offer and provide key services at their fingertips.
Following extensive research with young people Focus Gov were informed that support ‘dropped off a cliff’ when they left care. Focus Gov identified technology that young people use day to day and created the Care Leavers App.
Each local authority is able to customise their own app, including the look and feel and content. All Care Leavers Apps are co-produced with care leavers who get involved through a series of engagement and participation workshops.
The services that the Care Leavers App offers include:
- Information and advice - customisable sections of information, advice and guidance across a range of topics including housing, entitlements, managing money, health and wellbeing and preparing to leave care.
- Secure messaging
- Creation and publication of digital surveys
- Regional apprenticeships
- Emergency contacts - mini-address book for storing contact details of important people
- A calendar of events, helping care leavers get into their community and reduce social isolation.
- 100 different languages and accessibility features.
Analytics are provided to local authorities in real-time through an online dashboard, on a downloadable basis and in quarterly reviews with your account manager Focus Gov can provide analytics such as how many downloads the app has had and how popular each section of the apps is with care leavers.
The roadmap for the Care Leavers App, includes several new features including a Digital Pathway Plan, Embedded Care Outcomes Tools and one-to-one video messaging. Focus Gov often partners with local authorities on a pilot / early adopter partnership basis to roll out innovative tech and new functionality.
For more information on the care leavers app or for an informal conversation about a project idea you might have, please email [email protected].
In response to Covid-19 pandemic, Middlesbrough Council have launched a new app to aid the town’s commercial, cultural and social recovery during further lockdown restrictions.
The council had established thematic working groups with local stakeholders to work on different sectors of accommodating recovery and renewal in the face of covid-19 challenges. The combined recovery group focusing on the business sector and town centre was made up of local universities, federation of SMEs, Colleges, council officers and a consultant from the local tech cluster.
This recovery group sought to launch an app that would host information on the town centre’s shops, restaurants and cafes in a move designed to boost the accessibility and real time information on local businesses that often lags behind the usual online search engines.
Furthermore, the group wanted an app that did not duplicate but add a quality of information to an already crowded space in the covid-19 narrative. The app therefore embraced a smart places agenda to create hub for data inputs to produce a reliable source of visualised information.
The Visit Middlesbrough App provides important travel and safety information to encourage a controlled return to the town centre using sensors to track footfall to allow the most vulnerable and shielded people plan their visits by highlighting the quietest and safer times of the day. The app is also working to integrate rail and bus company timetables that also provides a seat counter to let residents know the busier times for the public transport system.
Users will also have the latest news from the council immediately at their fingertips with push notifications to receive up to date covid-19 information directly.
The App rather than developing a completely new map system, integrates google maps information and interface to provide easy and direct access to local business websites, contact details and opening times. The council want to make it as easy as possible for residents to find relevant information given the ever-changing environment with restrictions. The app also has accessibility options for text size and day/night mode to ensure the usability is as easy as possible.
Through a £20k fund the council onboarded Dominic, Lusardi, digital consultant/project manager, and supplier MCD, a Digital Product Engineering Company based in Middlesbrough's Boho Zone, who have offered extensive support and development opportunities for council staff to learn the skills to update and work on the app through a wireframe structure that ensures a high level of content management for the app.
Moving forward the council and recovery group are seeking out new opportunities to develop the app by including a ‘What’s on Guide’ when lockdown restrictions make this possible. This would include events profiles, QR codes or beacons for front of house in shops that will be accommodated with discounts and offers to encourage residents to return to shops, businesses and cultural venues.
The app is available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Search ‘Visit Middlesbrough'.
Sam Gilmore, Head of Economic Growth, [email protected]
Dominic Lusardi [email protected]
In March 2018, Dundee City Council signed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, with the Dundee Partnership committing to develop a Climate Action Plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 or sooner whilst ensuring we are prepared for climate change.
The Covenant required that cities develop this plan in collaboration with public, private and community organisations to ensure cooperation and commitment across the City to meet the targets. 64 actions were identified by partners across the themes of Energy, Transport, Waste and Resilience.
To implement this action plan and manage expectations to deliver the 64 actions, the partnership has to baseline and measure the impact of the action plan through consultation, extensive engagement and awareness initiatives along with reliable data inputs. These measures will provide the partnership with the ability to measure and monitor the reductions from carbon saving actions to keep the programme on track for the city-wide effort.
To do this the council have onboarded ClimateView. This is a software modelling platform that can provide a coherent visualisation of the climate data held by the council, including current CO2 emissions per sector (i.e. fleets, buses or taxis), national average comparators, building project impact or electric vehicle prominence in the city. Incorporating this information can measure proposed and approved policies and indicators of how much progress is made.
This data will be fed into the software model to produce a dashboard that visualises the current image of climate change in the city. The overarching aim of the dashboard will allow the team to make the data accessible to stakeholders and the public while centralising the activities of members of the Dundee Partnership, a grouping of public, private and community organisations across the city. In December 2020, the first dashboard will be made publicly available.
The partnership has found that by digitising their data streams it has given them a simple way of measuring impact and provided key stakeholders such as CEOs and Cllrs with an easy to use and informative tool to keep track of work and city objectives. The tool has also given the council and partnership with a sustainable approach with officers being taught how to operate the model allowing them to independently input and supply the necessary data streams without having to rely on the supplier of ClimateView.
Lessons Learnt: Collaboration across multiple disciplines is essential. There can be considerable overlap and also opportunities for cooperation between sectors.
There is a need to accurately quantify the emissions reduction of actions in order to assess our progress against targets. This requires extensive scenario modelling and specialist knowledge.
Contact: Naomi Clarke, Sustainability and Climate Change Officer [email protected]
In March 2020, due to the coronavirus lockdown, many businesses were forced to completely shut down face to face operations. The main source of food at that time was supermarkets, but they were under immense pressure to continue regular supply and provide online delivery slots. Several small local businesses across Oxford decided to try to maintain supplies to customers by focusing on online ordering and delivery, and the City Council looked to take on a supporting role of those efforts to continue operating under the new lockdown restrictions.
The Council’s Economic Development and City Centre Management team was in touch with businesses city wide to alert them to the support that was available to them including loans, grants and rate relief, and created a Survey Monkey powered questionnaire to help better understand how businesses were adapting ways of working to operate under lockdown, and how the council could best help.
The response led the team to launch an online business directory to help promote those that were still available by operating online and providing their services via the internet or by telephone. The initial businesses to feature included fresh food providers, and restaurants and cafes that were available for online delivery or takeaway. This meant that, from a residents’ perspective, the directory brought together local businesses to provide a holistic offer to those on the vulnerable and shielded list, and to those who wanted to support local business.
The directory proved so popular that the initial 60 businesses quickly increased to include additional commercial offers as the lockdown restrictions impacted more and more sectors. Book stores, photography studios and architects were some of those that were added to the ever-growing directory list.
Similar initiatives to promote Oxford businesses operating online were also created by local organisations Independent Oxford, Bitten Oxford and Daily Info. The council created links to them on the directory, which was being promoted via a coordinated social media campaign to increase awareness and its popularity.
The directory provided users with an easy to use interface with a content list of various services ranging from fresh food to revised hospitality offers. It featured links to websites, social media pages, contact details, emails and important information such as delivery options and opening times.
The links and collaboration that have been created through this portal have been substantial. For instance, a group of market traders combining their offer of products into a single online portal, and a bike courier service first connecting with local traders to be their delivery service and then creating an online local supermarket itself offering fresh produce shopping so that residents have a spontaneous food delivery service to use.
The success of the Oxford initiative prompted other councils and organisations to launch similar directories with Boston Council and a team brought together by Newcastle Building Society replicating the approach.
By the start of June, the directory had more than 275 businesses signed up and the web page has received tens of thousands of page views, becoming, for a period, the busiest on the Council’s website.
As lockdown eases, the Council is working with businesses to review the directory and agree what its best role is going forward.
Iain Nicholson, City Centre Manager, [email protected]