Local Digital
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Local Digital

Sprint Notes #21

Covering 3–16 February 2021

Welcome back to our team sprint notes!

Creating a more flexible model for the Local Digital Fund

We recently introduced the work we’ve been doing to adopt a more flexible approach to how we fund projects through the Local Digital Fund. We’re trialling a ‘continuous funding model’ (CFM) to build more flexibility into the Local Digital Fund applications process, and to help project teams retain continuity and build momentum

We’ve now published a blog post that explains why we’re iterating this model, how it works, and how we hope it will benefit council-led digital projects.

We’ll be announcing the projects that will receive follow-on funding on Twitter very soon, as well as sharing updates in our fortnightly sprint notes as usual.

New Training Library

Back in October, we briefly talked about our work to develop a new online training offer that would supplement our existing classroom-based training, which is still on hold due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. We have now launched a new offer to support local authority staff to develop their digital skills.

We’ve created a library of free, funded and paid-for courses that offer fully virtual learning from a range of platforms including Open Learn, Apolitical and Acumen. We’ve purchased 350 licences with the online learning platform, FutureLearn, and are inviting local authorities to apply for one of several certified courses.

Read more about how we developed the offer, and how to take advantage of the opportunities available, in this blog post from LDCU’s Sam Villis.

The new online training library on the Local Digital Collaboration Unit website.


Cyber Support

During this sprint, we have completed all workshops with councils, with reports written and funding applications submitted.

To date we have:

  • conducted 27 out of 27 planned cyber workshops
  • written and agreed 25 out of 27 reports
  • submitted 22 out of 27 council applications for cyber funding
  • started to schedule support sessions with councils for remediation activity

Cyber Health

A new alpha project has kicked off to develop a tool and framework that will support local authorities to achieve a recommended level of cyber health. The team will be introducing themselves and how you can get involved with their work during the cyber show and tell on 26 February.

Call for user research participants

The Cyber Health project would like to speak to you if you’re working within a local authority or a supporting service, and have responsibility or involvement within the following:

  • Senior Leadership Team
  • Strategic staff(BAs, project managers etc)
  • Service Managers
  • Chief Information Officers

Each research session will be held remotely via a video conferencing tool (Microsoft Teams, Skype or Google Hangouts), or over the phone. The session will be approximately one hour long depending on your availability.

During the session you will be asked about cyber security at your local authority, and may be asked to review any early ideas or prototypes the project has been developing.

Find out more and apply to take part in user research.

Join the next Cyber show and tell

Our next show and tell will be on Friday 26 February from 11.30am-12pm, featuring an update from both the Cyber Support and Cyber Health projects. Request joining details

After this sprint, we will be including updates from both projects in separate, cyber-specific sprint notes. If you haven’t done so already, you can also subscribe to our cyber newsletter to receive cyber updates, events and more, direct to your inbox.

Join the next cyber show and tell on 26 February 2021.

Funded projects

LocalGov Drupal

LocalGov Drupal is a shared codebase for open-source council websites. It’s currently being deployed by four councils, with six more to follow shortly. The beta phase aims to continue the development of new components for the codebase — such as directories based on the Open Referral UK standard — and to lay the groundwork for the anticipated increase in demand.

With Drupal 7 support due to end next year, LocalGov Drupal offers an affordable and robust way for council websites to make the step up to versions 8 and 9. Non-Drupal councils can tap into the collective knowledge of the project team to discuss whether the codebase could be right for them in the future. Reach out to the team on Twitter or email us for an intro if you want to find out more.

Open Community

The project is now in full flow and approaching the end of its first sprint. Last week, Snook, the project delivery partner, ran a prioritisation session and ideation workshop to refine the goals of this phase of work.

The project is looking to develop the community of users for the OpenReferral UK data standard for community service directories. Using the data standard should improve directory products and make it easier for residents to find the right support services online. If you’re interested in taking part, or simply want to keep tabs on how the project develops, then drop us a message.

Back Office Planning System (BOPS) and Reducing Invalid Planning Applications (RIPA)

The RIPA project has been working on new user recruitment strategies to ensure they have good representation from users with accessibility needs and disabilities. They have also prepared an interim beta project report that summarises the work done during this project phase, as well as published their latest sprint notes.

Meanwhile, the BOPS project has been concentrating on continuing with their User Acceptance Testing and started to revisit the work previously done on householder applications.

Both projects came together to agree on the best way of passing data from RIPA to BOPS for the private beta minimum viable product (MVP). The projects held a join-up session and were joined by the Planning Appeals Service from PINS. During the session the projects provided each other with updates on upcoming tasks and roadmaps, plus how they’re going to measure benefits and more.

A tweet from the RIPA project.

C-19 Challenge projects

Join us for the final C-19 Challenge showcase events

We’re hosting the two remaining showcase events on March 1 during Services Week 2021. Come along to hear show and tell-style presentations from our C-19 Challenge project teams, followed by the chance to ask your questions.

  • Showcase #4–1 March, 11:00am — 12pm: featuring Digital Place Based Engagement and Community Engagement Playbook. Join the virtual event.
  • Showcase #5–1 March, 3.00pm — 4.00pm: featuring Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interoperability (SAVVI) and Vulnerability Risk Index (VRI). Join the virtual event.

Digital Place Based Engagement

The project has been working on collecting feedback from user research and looking at next stage metrics. They have produced the next iteration of their online playbook and started populating it with more resources, as well as experimenting with a new frontend design.

The project also hosted a show and tell on 17 February, keep an eye on their YouTube channel for the recording.

One of the new designs for the Digital Place Based Engagement playbook

Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interoperability (SAVVI)

The current phase of the SAVVI project is nearing completion, with a plan in place to test and prove the SAVVI standards, process and playbook with 2 councils (Huntingdonshire for their VRI tool, and North Yorkshire at an early stage) during the next phase.

The SAVVI website is live and undergoing updates to incorporate additions to the catalogue items. An end of project showcase will be taking place on 1 March during Services Week.

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



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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.