Local Digital
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Local Digital

Sprint Notes #28

Covering 23 June — 6 July 2021

Welcome back to our team sprint notes.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the team - there have been two project launches and an event on digital identity, as well as plenty of funded project updates - read on to find out more!

Local Digital turned 3!

It’s been 3 years since we launched the Local Digital Declaration and we’d love you to celebrate with us at our upcoming anniversary event.

Join us on Thursday 22 July, 2:00pm — 4:00pm for an afternoon of celebrations, showcases and a special Local Digital themed quiz.

Register through the Eventbrite link below 👇.

You can also take part in the celebrations online by tagging @LDgovUK on Twitter and using #LocalDigital3Years.

A tweet from @LDgovUK to celebrate 3 years of the Local Digital Declaration

Digital Identity event

On Monday 28 June we hosted a Digital Identity webinar and panel discussion in partnership with Socitm, the LGA and iStandUK. Colleagues from DCMS and GDS shared an overview of the digital Identity and attributes trust framework and GOV.UK Accounts.

We were joined by 90 local government peers, but don’t worry if you missed it, there’s still time to get involved. If you’d like to participate in future digital identity related work and programmes please register your interest using the short form.

BOPS and RIPA move into private beta

A graphic that reads ‘The first step towards a 21st century digital planning system’.
A graphic that was used on Twitter to announce the launch

In an important first step towards the digital planning reform, two of our Local Digital funded projects have launched a private beta of their planning products.

During this next phase, the Reducing Invalid Planning Applications (RIPA) and Back Office Planning Systems (BoPS) projects are trialling their beta products to process lawful development certificate (LDC) applications. The participating councils are inviting residents that need a LDC to use the new service, so that the teams can collect user feedback as they continue to improve the products to process other types of planning application.

Well done to the project teams for their hard work — you can read more about this exciting move towards a 21st Century digital planning system in our latest blog post.

Beach Check App UK roll out

A tweet from @LDgovUK announcing the national availability of the Beach Check UK App

The project team at Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole Council have been working hard to onboard more councils onto the Beach Check UK App. Last week, it was made available to beach operators nationwide, starting with a number of popular tourist destinations across the UK.

The latest councils to adopt the app include:

  • Adur and Worthing Council
  • Havant Borough Council
  • Somerset West and Taunton Council
  • Thanet District Council
  • West Wittering Estate
  • Redcar and Cleveland Council
  • Torridge District Council
  • Rother District Council

The National Coastal Tourism Academy is supporting the roll out — if you’d like to find out how your council can add beaches to the app, email fund@localdigital.gov.uk and we’ll put you in touch with the team.

More updates from our funded projects

How Busy Is Toon (HBIT)

The project team are focussing on how users interact with the site, and have been using Google Analytics to gather data. They have learnt that the landing page is visited by 82% of users, with parking information being the next most popular page visited by 4.2% of people.

They are also designing new pages for travel information that will expose travel busyness to the user and have been considering accessibility needs such as users that rely on assistive technology. They’ve been exploring what real time information about travel busyness would be best suited to add to the website:

  • indicators of congestion (such as journey times, traffic camera counts)
  • traffic cameras
  • incidents
‘How Busy Is Toon’ Google Analytics snapshot
‘How Busy Is Toon’ Google Analytics snapshot

Open Referral UK (ORUK)

Testament to their hard work and positive engagement, the Open Referral UK standard is in the final stages of the Data Standards Authority challenge.

The team have had an influx of enquiries about their work, and will be analysing the answers to influence and inform their next steps.

LocalGov Drupal

The project is approaching the halfway point of the funded beta phase. In this last sprint, the team met with GDS to talk about their planned work on Forms and the possibility of using GaaP products and PaaS (Platform as a Service) as a viable alternative to the solutions more commonly used in local government.

There is still time to participate in their ‘council website collaboration survey’. To say thanks, all survey participants will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a £100 John Lewis voucher.

Open Referral UK (ORUK)

Testament to their hard work and positive engagement, the Open Referral UK standard is in the final stages of the Data Standards Authority challenge.

The team have had an influx of enquiries about their work, and will be analysing the answers to influence and inform their next steps.

Future Work Design

The Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for each partner council has been signed off and they have started recruiting research participants.

The team have published a couple of new blog posts:

You can now also catch up on their Microsoft Envision talk from last month — technology enabling wellbeing — to learn more about the project and their approach.

The cover image for the Future Work Design event, hosted by Microsoft Envision
The cover image for the Future Work Design talk, hosted by Microsoft Envision

Children’s Social Care Demand

The team have been successful in signing a Data Privacy Impact Assessment (DPIA) with Dudley Council and are waiting on 2 further DPIAs to be signed. This means that they are able to begin work on development of the demand modelling tool for Looked After Children (LACs).

Digital Inclusion ToolKit

The team has started working with their new user researchers, who have started to identify research participants to interview.

They have written some great articles which have been shared on their Twitter page, which focuses on defining and mapping digital inclusion/exclusion. Have a read and comment on the tweet to share how you are tackling this issue — they’d love for you to be part of the conversation.

Housing Repairs

The team have shortlisted supplier proposals from 14 applications received from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to 3. Those shortlisted will now go to the next procurement stage.

Committed to making the application process valuable, the team have also worked on providing feedback to the unsuccessful suppliers.

Since the last sprint notes, the project presented at the THiSTLe Housing IT Group Meeting which had great engagement and excellent questions. A couple of councils even expressed an interest to follow the project and take part in it after attending.

On Monday 5 July, the project had a road-mapping session where they:

  • revisited the project vision and agreed how they will update it
  • agreed a project vision for the beta stage
  • agreed beta stage goals that will help achieve the beta vision.
Project presenting at the THiSTLe meeting
Image of the THiSTLe Housing IT Group Meeting on a persons laptop

Income Management System (IMS)

After holding their first meeting, the project held their second workshop to define the private beta scope. They are starting with private beta 1 — an open source solution that any council in the country will be able to pick up and reuse.

There are 2 stages to private beta 1:

  • Stage 1: Make sure the open source code base ready for anyone to use (started)
  • Stage 2: Get others (i.e. private beta participants) using the code

The project also updated their page on Local Digital Pipeline.

A miro board showing IMS planning beta engagement

Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability (SAVVI)

On Monday 5 July, the project team took part in a ‘School Readiness’ Workshop with North Yorkshire County Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority as part of the NYCC SAVVI pilot.

A blog was published on techuk.org to introduce the SAVVI and Tech UK working group and Shelly Heckman, Project Manager for the SAVVI team, has published a blog on the upcoming SAVVI workshop with Open Referral and LG Inform Plus around taxonomies.

Register for your free place on the workshop here.

Societal Early Need Application (SENA)

The team has published two new blogs and a Q&A vlog on the Huntingdonshire District Council site:

Placecube met with Hackney project leads to discuss their similar work on vulnerability management. Read more about building preventative approaches across Hackney and building through reusable components.

20 co-design survey responses were received from partners, the information from which is being incorporated into a new version of the service blueprint. The stakeholders and support services ecosystem is being mapped, using the ‘We Are Huntingdonshire’ site service links.

The development backlog is being written with more story writing sessions planned this week and next, and the team is working to identify a MVP.

Quality data on children in care, 903 Returns

The team are planning to work with their community of data analysts through two workshops to understand their expectations for the project and to inform other planning activity.

They had 30 analysts express their interest to support the development for the tool.

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.