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Sprint Notes #53 Covering 4 August –18 August 2022 — Local Digital

Sprint Notes #53

Covering 4 August –18 August 2022

Welcome back to our Sprint Notes! Despite the heat, the Local Digital team has remained focussed and productive. In this issue, find out how you can help shape the Local Digital Fund, read team news, and keep up-to-date with the progress of our funded projects.

News from the team

Help us shape the Local Digital Fund

Help us shape the Local Digital Fund

The Local Digital Fund helps councils transform their services in line with the Local Digital Declaration. Since 2018, we’ve funded 44 council-led projects that address local service challenges in common, reusable ways. We’re now in the process of reviewing the Fund to ensure it continues to support local government in the best way possible.

For this, we’re seeking a small group of people to help us shape the next and subsequent rounds of the Local Digital Fund. You don’t need to be familiar with the Local Digital Fund or work in digital in order to volunteer, however you must be a local authority (LA) employee.

To submit an expression of interest, please fill out the following form: Help us shape the Local Digital Fund

Welcome back Egle

Welcome back Egle, Engagement and Collaboration Manager — Local Digital
Welcome back Egle, Engagement and Collaboration Manager

We would like to give Egle a warm welcome back this sprint. Egle is an Engagement and Collaboration Manager, who is passionate about changing people’s lives for the better, unlocking barriers to public services, and enabling people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.

When we asked Egle what she does in her spare time, her answer was “what is spare time? I’m a first time mum! Any recommendations on a ‘parenting 101’ course for new parents are very welcome!”

Our latest newsletter is now available

The latest edition of the Local Digital newsletter was published 16 August
The latest edition of the Local Digital newsletter was published 16 August

Take a look at our newsletter which features an important update on our email marketing provider, as well as news, events and learning opportunities.

News from our funded projects

A reminder that you can find information on all of our funded projects, including those mentioned below, on our website.

Income Management System (Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council)

A tweet from LocalGov IMS celebrating the launch of Local Gov open source income management system.

Wednesday 17 August marked a significant milestone in the LocalGov Income Management System (IMS) project: the launch of the open-source version on the project’s GitHub repository.

The development of the LocalGov IMS has been a collaborative and user-centred approach from the beginning. The project has been led by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council in collaboration with Dorset County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and the London Borough of Lewisham. They were further supported by their delivery partner, dxw.

The beta delivery phase of the project has been split into two parts:

Part one focused on the development of the open-source codebase and feedback from user research. This identified two audiences: councils who can implement and support the LocalGov IMS, and councils who do not have capacity to run an open-source IMS.

Part two will address the two audiences, focusing on the design and delivery of a supported version of the LocalGov IMS.

To engage or collaborate with the team, visit the project website.

Housing Repairs Service (City of Lincoln Council)

Image source: MadeTech — Lincoln Public Services Hub
Image source: MadeTech — Lincoln Public Services Hub

The City of Lincoln Council has made great strides with their Housing Repairs Service. They’re producing an application form for social housing residents to report and a common API (Application Programming Interface) that will enable user facing applications to integrate with appointment scheduling software. On Tuesday 16 August, the project team held their Sprint 6 Show and Share session, which was well attended by a number of councils.

During the session, the team were pleased to confirm that the Housing Repairs Service prototype is now publicly available for interested councils. The prototype is password protected, so if you wish to obtain access to the prototype please contact the team.

Future Work Design (East Riding of Yorkshire)

The team held their concept testing workshop on Wednesday 17 August in-person at the University of Hull. Part of Phase 3, the aim of this session was to explore a stress risk assessment process, with a particular focus on 1–2–1 meetings. The workshop included a series of mock 1–2–1 sessions, to trial the latest version of a tool they are developing. 16 council staff attended the workshop with representation from all four partner councils.

Following successful and insightful research, the team will now develop the tool. A review of the workshop will be available in our next edition of Sprint Notes.

Digital Inclusion Toolkit (Leeds City Council)

The project team met with Sarah and Charlotte from Local Digital to discuss post funding support. To support ongoing conversations about possible sponsorship, the Digital Inclusion Toolkit team will now pull together a range of metrics to demonstrate the toolkit’s re-usability within councils.

A tweet from Digital Inclusion Toolkit sharing digital inclusion case studies

Digital Waste Service (Rugby Borough Council)

In the final sprint of this first phase, the Placecube development and QA (Quality Assurance) teams completed the build and testing of the last waste service form, as well as 3 of 4 integration connectors.

Work continued on documentation, with the updated ‘User Research Review & UX Insights Report’ circulated for review and feedback by the LA partners.

The current plan for finalising phase 1 is to:

  • Hold a final Retrospective session
  • Finalise documentation
  • Publish final outputs on the project site
  • Publish all code outputs on Placecube’s Bitbucket repository
  • Resolve any issues found during testing of the Digital Place platform V3 upgrade, then provide LAs with access to the new low code services
  • Plan service implementations for each LA partner
  • Continue discussions about Phase 2 and development of a proposal for further funding

The date/time of the team’s final Show & Tell session will be confirmed shortly. To attend the session, please get in touch with the project team or follow the project on Twitter for updates.

Children’s Placement Portal (Birmingham City Council)

This project, led by Birmingham City Council, aims to enable a more strategic and cost-efficient approach to child placement. The project team is currently preparing their beta application through the continuous funding model (CFM) framework. The CFM interview is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 31 August. Receiving CFM will help the project team maintain momentum and continuity.

Low Code Solutions for Housing Management (Redbridge Council)

The project team is also preparing for their CFM interview. They’re in the process of defining viable tech options for the beta that will be acceptable for council IT as well as a scalable solution that can be used by other councils. Options include Microsoft PowerApps, one of the Alpha low code suppliers, amongst others.

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

SAVVI Data Enablers Group has been scheduled for Tuesday 13 September. Made up of information governance professionals, data analysts and data project practitioners, the group will promote the legal, ethical and transparent use of data to assess and support vulnerable people and households.

SEND top-up (Bristol City Council)

This sprint has seen the team focus on understanding and building the process for what happens when a SENDCO (special educational needs and disabilities coordinator) submits additional information to their application.

The project is on track to finish this phase at the end of September, when the beta version of the tool will be tested by a group of SENDCOs. They are keen to maintain momentum during this period and will look to apply for CFM in February for their next phase.

Greenwich Community Directory (Royal Borough of Greenwich)

Image from www.greenwichcommunitydirectory.org.uk
Image from www.greenwichcommunitydirectory.org.uk

Following conversations with internal stakeholders, the team will now begin further testing on their reusable directory of community services. Furthermore, they are working closely with delivery partner, TPX, which will initially focus on prototyping the user journey of Adults and Older People.

The team have also created a microsite to share their previous and upcoming shows and tells with others in the community — feel free to take a look and feedback on their progress so far!

Demand Modelling for Children’s Services (East Sussex)

During this sprint, East Sussex had a productive feedback session on the web-based prototype — the first of three planned for this week! They want to thank all those who joined in from Dudley, Leeds, Stockton, Staffordshire and DLUHC to share their feedback and suggestions.

Overall the feedback was overwhelmingly positive with participants from Local Authorities confirming that they would use the tool in their work. One participant said, “I think the tool is excellent and clearly very well-thought-out and comprehensively developed.”

Participants suggested additional features including the ability to preload scenarios and a “how-to” video for first-time users. Both of these suggestions are already in the pipeline for a future version. Since detailed forecasting is not a common existing practice, participants also proposed the need to engage stakeholders who have an input and persuade them of the value and accuracy of the forecasts.

The team are looking forward to receiving more feedback at the next two feedback sessions. A link to the test site will be released over the next few days alongside a request for participants that are trialling it to share their experiences with real data from their LAs. Watch this space for updates about a wider launch post-September!

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.