Local Digital
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Local Digital

Sprint Notes #47

Covering 12 to 25 May 2022

Welcome back to our Sprint Notes! In this issue, meet our new User Researcher, have your say on a potential East of England Roadshow, and get up to speed on the progress of our funded projects.

News from the team

Our Delivery Manager, Sarah, presenting at the Local Digital South West Roadshow in Bristol last week.

More updates on the #LocalDigitalRoadshow

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added a new date to our regional roadshow! The Yorkshire and the Humber Roadshow will take place on Thursday 14 July at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds. Registration is now open and will close on Wednesday 13 July.

We’re also considering adding another date in the East of England, and we want to hear your thoughts. To help us gauge the level of interest among council staff, please complete this short survey by Friday 3 June if you’re interested in attending an East of England Roadshow. We know this is a tricky time for many due to the school holidays, so your input will help us to work out whether this event is feasible.

There’s still time to register for our next event, the North West Roadshow (our rescheduled event from March), which is taking place on Wednesday 15 June in Salford, Greater Manchester.

We asked Will McLean, Head of Digital Delivery at Northumberland County Council, what he found useful about the roadshow and why he thinks councils should attend — watch this video to find out what he told us.

We have a new user researcher!

This sprint we were pleased to welcome Ellen Goodman to the team as our new User Researcher. Ellen joins us from the Open Data Institute and will be helping us to better understand the needs of council staff and other stakeholders as our three-year programme kicks off.

Say hello to Local Digital’s new User Researcher, Ellen Goodman!

News from our funded projects

Don’t forget you can find information on all of our funded projects, including those mentioned below, on our website.

Data Exchange with VCS (Camden and Bedfordshire Councils)

In our last Sprint Notes, we shared the news that the Camden team has presented their final Show and Tell for this phase. As well as reading the Show and Tell slides (opens in Google Slides) you can now watch a recording of the session on YouTube.

The team have also shared their final end of phase report (opens in Google Docs) with us.

Digital Inclusion Toolkit (Leeds City Council)

This sprint, the team held a session to go through any outstanding development work — including adding new functionality for blogs — and a separate session to discuss project comms with their comms leads. The @diginclusionkit Twitter page will now be more active and the comms leads are also setting up a page on LinkedIn. The team is planning to post more news and updates from the wider digital inclusion world, rather than just updates about new Toolkit articles and content.

Members of the team at Leeds attended a session to generate content for articles on engaging the third sector, and finding and securing funding. They will use what came out of the session to come up with first drafts of new articles.

The team is also busy planning for their first Roundtable discussion. The discussions will enable them to get input from other councils on different digital inclusion topics, which will help them shape the Digital Inclusion website and its content.

Future Work Design (East Riding of Yorkshire Council)

The project’s Phase 2 output is now complete and has been shared with partners, and will be published on the project website and Local Digital website soon.

The operational delivery and HR staff from the four councils met to agree the staff demographic for the focus groups and confirm dates. They are looking for staff who are managers, because they have experience of both providing and receiving personal development and wellbeing support.

In other news:

  • the team is close to confirming the brand/promotional partner that will help with the design of the final outputs for Phase 2
  • a press release about the project being awarded continuous funding through the Local Digital Fund has just gone out
  • the project has been invited to present their work and progress at a Socitm network event (more details to follow)

Housing Repairs (City of Lincoln Council)

City of Lincoln Council has become the first to use the open-source Housing Repairs Service — an achievement that’s been covered in an article by UK Authority. The repairs service has been promoted to Lincoln residents, and supplier MadeTech has agreed to publish a case study on the project.

The service was initially opened up to internal staff and has received good feedback from the customer service agents. Lincoln’s representative on the project has reported that staff have used the service to reduce their backlog of cases to around 700 from over 2,000!

Interest in the project is still increasing, and West Northamptonshire Council has started to attend the project’s agile ceremonies with a view to joining the project as a partner. The project team are actively engaging councils to find a replacement for Hounslow for the NEC Housing integration/ease of replication exercise.

The project team is collating a list of tech stacks for engaged councils, as part of their commitment to develop a strategy and action plan to engage local authorities. From this list, Jem Bowen from the Thistle IT Housing Group has identified which councils would potentially be in a good position to work with the project and adopt the service down the line.

The London Borough of Camden has advised that they may be in a position to collaborate on the NEC Housing integration, as they are already using NEC Housing as part of their Housing Repairs service. Camden may be able to provide insight and experience if they also involve members of their development team in the ease of replication activity.

Income Management System (Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley)

The project team plans to set up a monthly user group for Finance SMEs, in recognition that the project had been technology-focused to date and would benefit from being more user-centred in its approach.

The developers have tested an end-to-end transaction on the Dorset build and identified a number of issues to resolve.

A coordinated comms approach has been planned for both Barnsley and Dorset for when they switch over to the open-source model.

Governance for the project still needs to be agreed with a decision on the open-source licence for the code. The core code is expected to remain static, although the partner councils would like a licence that will enable them to maintain control over the core code yet remain flexible should additional development be required. An MIT licence has been suggested, which the team have agreed to discuss.

Offline Data Input Tool for Field Workers (Birmingham)

The project team presented the latest feature of the Birmingham Guardian application as part of the Local Digital Midlands Roadshow in Birmingham on Thursday 12 May.

This feature allows one of the key users — caretakers — to take an image of a task and upload it to the platform. This means that a clear record of the task assessment or task completions can be captured and allows managers to make better, faster decisions on the deployment of resources with quality data.

June will see the roll-out of the new app features, ready for testing with the 300-odd caretaker team.

A tweet about the Local Digital Midlands Roadshow.

Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interoperability (SAVVI) (Tameside and Sedgemoor Councils)

For Phase 2, the project team has appointed their coach from Red Quadrant and their technical specialist from Porism.

Paul Davidson, Product Owner, delivered a short presentation at Local Digital’s South West Roadshow on Tuesday 24 May to celebrate the success of the team.

Several members of the team attended the i-Network Innovation Awards on Thursday 19 May, and were joined by Sarah and Paul from the Local Digital team who both presented an award.

A tweet from iNetwork about the Innovation Awards 2022.

SEND top-up (Bristol City Council)

The team has been busy working on the prototype development for Phase 2 and has started to build the ‘overview’ page.

They are continuing to investigate access via Azure for all schools and have resolved access for those schools in the Azure IT eco-system.

This sprint, they also:

  • continued work on further provision data mapping
  • added breadcrumb functionality to all pages
  • scheduled two workshops for SENDCOs to test the beta (and a survey which is ready to send out)

Amy from the team also presented about the project at the Local Digital South West Roadshow on Tuesday 24 May.

A tweet about the Local Digital South West Roadshow.

That’s it for this sprint, 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.