Local Digital
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Local Digital

Sprint Notes #19

Covering 6–19 January 2021

Welcome back to our first sprint notes of the new year!

A look back at Local Digital in 2020

In the year that the Local Digital Declaration turned two years old, we saw some huge shifts both as a team and department. Now that 2020 is behind us, we’ve taken a look back at some of the highlights and milestones in this blog post — including a teaser of what we’ve got in store for 2021.

‘We have signed’ and #FixThePlumbing stickers on a laptop.
‘We have signed’ and #FixThePlumbing stickers created by LDCU.

Continuous Funding Model (CFM)

The Local Digital Fund has now been running for more than 2 years. We’ve started to establish what’s working well, and where tweaks in our own processes could help give collaborative, council-led projects the greatest chance to succeed. With this in mind, we’re starting to adopt a more flexible approach to how we fund promising projects.

Rather than have to wait for funding rounds that only open twice a year, active project teams can apply for funding for their next stage of work shortly after completing the previous phase. We’re calling it the ‘Continuous Funding Model’, and we hope it will ensure that project teams retain continuity and carry their momentum forwards. We’ll be blogging more about this soon, so stay tuned.


Following initial briefings with councils, the Cyber Support team is now conducting follow-up workshops with a focus on Backups and Multi Factor Authentication (MFA).

During this sprint, we have carried out:

  • 16 out of 22 scheduled Backup/MFA workshops
  • 15 out of 21 scheduled Active Cyber Defence tools (ACD)/ Operating System (OS) / IT Health Check (ITHC) workshops
  • 15 out of 21 scheduled Active Directory (AD)/Logging workshops

Our next show and tell is taking place on 29 January from 11.00am-11:30am, request joining details to find out more about what we’ve been up to.

If you would like to get in touch with us, please email cybersupport@localdigital.gov.uk.

Funded projects

The Open Community project is now in beta, and the team had a kick off workshop with their supplier, Snook, and technical partner, Porism, last week.

The project took a break over the festive period, but still managed to make progress with their private beta user testing plan. Read their latest blog post, in which they reflect on their last sprint of 2020, and watch the show and tell recording.

More recently, the project has been working on finalising scenarios for pre-private beta testing. They also started recruiting user research participants and are preparing for their next show and tell.

A slide comparing two scenarios for testing. Option 1 is historic submissions, Option 2 is hypothetical.
The RIPA team have been finalising scenarios for pre-private beta testing.

The project spent the festive period working on building new features into the system. They also progressed with the Monitoring and Evaluation framework. Since then, the team has had their first show and tell of the year, where they presented a demo of the BOPS system receiving application data from RIPA for the very first time! Watch the recording to see it in action.

The team has also conducted User Acceptance Testing and started looking at how documents are validated within the system and how applicants are kept up to date — plus much more!

Family Context is a tool — built with funding from the Local Digital Fund — to empower social workers with the information they need to provide the best support to children and families. The tool was built collaboratively with social workers and families with lived experience in Stockport and Leeds.

Recently, the ICO featured Family Context as a case study of an innovative way to share data while protecting people’s information.

We’re now looking for local authority partners who are interested in embedding the family context model into social work practice. For more information or to express your interest, please complete this short form.

Family Context:putting the right information in the hands of children’s social workers to improve outcomes for children.
The Family Context tool.

C-19 Challenge projects

Before the festive period, the team created a Twitter bot that sends notifications about new planning applications and where they are on a map.

During this sprint, the project finalised a playbook survey that aims to:

  • baseline a council’s digital engagement with residents and communities before and during the pandemic
  • find out what the motivations, needs and barriers are for councils doing digital engagement
  • find out what information councils think they need from a playbook to support them to improve engagement

They are also gathering information for the example planning applications (which will assist them in producing new site notice mockups), looking at content and wireframing, and conducting user testing.

If you missed their show and tell last week, you can now watch it on YouTube. Email digitalplanning@camden.gov.uk if you would like to attend future show and tells.

A screenshot of the Twitter bot created by the Digital Place Based Engagement project.
The Digital Place Based Engagement Twitter bot.

Community Engagement Playbook

The project is now in Week 5 of delivery, and moving at pace! Following initial user research and synthesis, the project is beginning to test prototypes with users, getting feedback on structure, content and layout, as well as building engagement case studies.

The first show and tell last week was successful with almost 30 attendees, including a number of local authorities who are not project partners. There were also attendees from central government (NHS Digital and GDS), and from Citizens Advice. The second show and tell is scheduled for Thursday 21 January.

A tweet from LDCU’s Sam Villis.

COVID-19 Demand Modelling

The COVID-19 Demand Modelling Tool, collaboratively built with 12 local authorities, has been nominated for an iNetwork Innovation Award for ‘Partner Excellence and COVID-19 response’. Find out more and place your vote.

A tweet from Social Finance’s Dan Miodovnik for the C-19 Demand Modelling Tool

Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interoperability (SAVVI) and Vulnerability Risk Index (VRI) Projects

The SAVVI and Vulnerability Risk Index projects have begun to design how the two projects will interact as SAVVI is designing the standard and VRI will test the implemention of the standard. SAVVI has also identified a second council for adoption.

SAVVI have developed a project website, www.savviuk.org, which contains details of their entire playbook framework including process, standards and catalogue. They have also recorded an introductory video.

Digital Inclusion Toolkit

The team behind the Digital Inclusion Toolkit presented their work at Inside Government’s Digital Skills and Inclusion Conference. They continue to add new content to the platform each week.

Thanks for reading! For the daily download on all things #LocalDigital, be sure to follow us on Twitter.



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Local Digital

The Local Digital team is part of the UK Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. Read more about our work: https://www.localdigital.gov.uk.