Local Digital
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Local Digital

Sprint Notes #52

Covering 21 July — 3 August 2022

Welcome back to our Sprint Notes! The Local Digital team have enjoyed a productive two weeks. In this issue, discover how you can take part in our latest research project, view our team news and openings, and keep up-to-date with the progress of our funded projects.

News from the team

Celebrating the highlights of the Local Digital Declaration’s fourth anniversary

Every July, Local Digital holds a month-long campaign to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of the Local Digital Declaration and reflect on the impact it’s had.

Digital Declaration Month is also about celebrating the achievements of our Declaration signatories and the wider Local Digital community in making digital services that more effectively meet the needs of citizens and deliver better value for money.

In our latest blog post, we celebrate highlights from the fourth anniversary and share some of the stories that we heard from you this July. Read our Digital Declaration Month blog post.

If you also have a story to tell and would like to share your achievements with us, why not contribute to an upcoming issue of our Council Spotlight blog series? To nominate yourself or your team, complete this short form and we’ll be in touch for more info.

A tweet about a blog post for Digital Declaration Month from the Local Digital team.

Help us improve our communications and engagement to better meet the needs of local government

The Local Digital team is looking for people to participate in research to help us to improve our comms and engagement to better meet the needs of local government.

We want to speak to people in a wide range of roles at local authorities, in particular those responsible for cyber security, digital, IT and service delivery. We also want to speak to people from all seniority levels, and both people who are familiar with our work and those who are not — so please share this with your colleagues.

By participating in our research, you’ll be helping us to:

  • tailor our future programmes of work to the needs of councils
  • improve how we engage with councils
  • improve our messaging and how we communicate our work

Research sessions will be held virtually between Wednesday 3 August and Friday 26 August. Thank you to everyone that has already registered to take part.

If you’re interested in participating, please complete this short form by Friday 26 August.

Introducing our new Content Producer

This sprint we welcomed Dan Jones to the team as a Content Producer. Dan will be producing digital content for our communications channels and is looking forward to creating innovative media that engages our audiences.

Outside of work, he’s a music enthusiast and can often be found at a gig or playing his bass guitar. When he was younger, he was even in a rock band called Route 666!

Meet Dan Jones, Content Producer and new Local Digital team member

We’re recruiting a Head of Product

We’re hiring for a new Local Digital role — Head of Product. We are looking for a senior leader who is comfortable with digital and non-digital product development and iteration.

You will need to be adept at developing demand and supply side interventions in devolved environments, building capability across the local government sector and reducing the barriers to the successful use of modern user-centred digital services.

Find out more and apply by 11:55pm on Sunday 14 August.

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.

Digital Inclusion Toolkit (Leeds City Council)

This sprint, the project team published the new ‘News and highlights’ section to the website. This feature includes round-ups of the latest on Digital Inclusion as well as resources. Introduced following user research completed by the team, this feature will save councils time by publishing news in one central place.

The team held a retro on the work so far during Phase 3, facilitated by Sarah Deignan from the Local Digital team. Reflecting on the past few months since starting the new phase, the team identified what went well, what they have learned and what the future of the Digital Inclusion Toolkit may look like.

The team particularly enjoyed using a ‘Kudos Wall’ to recognise and thank team members for a job well done.

The Digital Inclusion Toolkit team’s Kudos Wall from the retro.
A tweet from the Local Digital team about the Digital Inclusion Kit project.

Family Context (Stockport Council)

The project team has been working with Sutton, Barnet, Bromley and Greenwich to scope out a pilot Family Context project in a London borough — more on this to follow!

Based on conversations with eight London local authorities (LAs), the team are starting to see two distinct parts of the Family Context value offer:

  1. As a system/tool that centralises the view of data that LAs already access and own, but is currently too hard to access.
  2. As a system/tool that brings new data to LAs that have traditionally been difficult to get, such as Health and Police.

For the second part, the project team have been working closely with Tom Lowndes, Local Digital Collaboration and Engagement Manager, to identify routes into centralised datasets (regionally or nationally) to explore how Family Context can enrich information that LAs have access to.

The team is now aiming to establish an LA community of Family Context to reach their vision of 10 LAs using the service. This community would provide an opportunity for peer support, shared learning, and potentially also a vehicle to share resource for future developments.

Task management for neighbourhood planning services (Colchester Borough Council)

As a fitting end to Local Digital Declaration Month, the project team proudly launched the Task Smart App.

Built on Microsoft’s Power BI platform, this application meets the needs of the user by delivering an intuitive user journey that ensures quality reporting and monitoring of problems across the Street Cleaning service team.

After the project was funded £350,000 as part of the Local Digital Fund Round 5 in 2021, the application is now live with Tendring and Malden as delivery partners.

Tom Lowndes spent some time this week with users of the service based within Colchester Recycling Centre in Shrub End. One of the users, who has been testing the application during the last three months of Beta development, has now started to use it to manage his daily tasks.

Tom told us: “it was great to see a whole gallery of clear and concise guidance videos available to users, via Microsoft Stream. This will boost take-up across the council services as they migrate from their legacy applications.

“I’m keen to see how Microsoft can help share this fantastic application across their licence base of local authorities.”

Colchester Borough Council’s tweet ahead of Tom’s visit

Future Work Design (East Riding of Yorkshire)

The team now has a marketing plan in place to market the digital risk management tool to councils. With a range of digital content (blogs, videos and podcasts) planned, the project has reached an exciting milestone.

The team are also continuing with their scheduled workshops including a Technical Session Workshop to explore how the technology being developed could deploy into different councils, and an internal workshop with the digital team to work through findings. This will kick off the digital design phase of the project.

Further workshops are in development to explore the implications of different deployment approaches for local authorities and how best to build and deploy the tool.

Greenwich Community Directory (Royal Borough of Greenwich)

Greenwich have begun to add greater detail to their delivery plan including establishing regular sprints for both their in-house team and their partner TPX. Their focus is improving the user experience of their Community Directory and the reusability of TPX’s Scout and Outpost products, making it easier for more councils to adopt and customise these. A blog post with further details will be shared in the coming weeks.

Open Referral (Blackburn with Darwen)

The Open Referral project team have been finalising their plan for their research to better understand how local voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations collect and store information about their services. The team will refine these questions following a pilot interview with one of their local partners, and are planning more sessions with local VCS organisations over the coming weeks.

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

The team has now created ‘product descriptions’ for each part of this phase to capture requirements for delivery and the lead for each part. These include SAVVI implementation within projects for Wigan Council Civil Contingencies Project, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), GData Accelerator for Supporting Families Programme, and Better Outcomes for Linked Data (BOLD) with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), led by SAVVI coach Andrew Humphries. This will be iterated as needed throughout the phase.

The SAVVI Declaration is now being reviewed by Phil Swann at GMCA before being shared with the SAVVI leadership group.

Tweet from iStandUK announcing the latest blog for the SAVVI project.

SEND top-up (Bristol City Council)

The team continues to test the tool for feedback with SENDCOs (Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinators), gathering information on how long the current SEND application process takes so they can compare the time savings when the new tool is used.

The process of including the provision costs in the tool is almost complete, and the team hopes to have this deployed this week.

The team has also been speaking to the SEND business team to improve understanding of the submissions process and have mapped out the current process.

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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Local Digital

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.