Local Digital
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Local Digital

Sprint Notes #56

15 September 2022–28 September 2022

Welcome to Sprint Notes #56! In this issue, learn more about Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund and how you can join our webinar, Senior Product Manager Rachel Downs tells us about her role in improving the cyber health and resilience of councils, and hear the latest updates from our funded projects.

News from the team

Local Digital Fund is reopening soon!

We are excited to announce that Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund will be open for applications on Thursday 13 October.

This is our most ambitious round of funding yet. We are looking to award approximately £2.5 million to council-led projects.

This time, we’re looking for local authorities to propose Discovery, Alpha or Beta projects that will:

  • solve a complex local government issue
  • make local government services safer, more resilient and cheaper to run

On opening for applications, we will publish a fund prospectus with application assessment criteria and further supporting information.

Join our webinar on Wednesday 19 October at 11am where the team will:

  • provide an overview of Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund and other funding opportunities
  • talk through the eligibility and assessment criteria
  • answer any questions you have

More information will be shared over the coming days so keep an eye on our social channels and website.

Meet the Local Digital team: Rachel Downs, Senior Product Manager

In our latest blog series, we’re highlighting different members of the Local Digital team to showcase some of the expertise and hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

Our first issue was released last week where Senior Product Manager Rachel Downs discussed her role in driving forward Local Digital’s work to improve the cyber health and resilience of councils.

Read Rachel’s blog below ⬇️

Local Digital at LocalGovCamp

On Thursday 29 September, representatives from the Local Digital team attended LocalGovCamp in Birmingham.

During the event, the team provided an update on what’s next for Local Digital, including launching Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund! The team then facilitated group discussions on the common challenges the local government sector faces, and sought feedback on the kinds of future support councils would find helpful.

Egle Shaw and Leon Ackie (Collaboration Managers) also joined representatives from funded projects including Income Management System, LocalGovDrupal and Offline Data Input for Field Workers to discuss how to encourage better collaboration across Local Government.

A great day, and plenty of networking was had by all!

News from our funded projects

LocalGov Drupal (Cumbria County Council)

LocalGov Drupal at LocalGovCamp 2022

LocalGov Drupal hosted three sessions at LocalGovCamp 2022:

  • An Introduction to LocalGov Drupal
  • LocalGov Drupal Principle 6 Networking
  • LocalGov Drupal drop in

The project team received great feedback and all three sessions were well attended.

In another exciting development this sprint, Greenwich Community Directory project has stated that they intend to use LocalGov Drupal for the proof of concept for their directory.

Digital Inclusion Toolkit (Leeds City Council)

The project team has now entered the final sprint in this phase of work.

To improve the user experience, the team recently made changes to the website, including a separate resources and case studies section.

Take a look ⬇️

Task Management for Neighbourhood Planning Services (Colchester Borough Council)

In September, Local Digital and Colchester Borough Council published a video case study on the Task Smart app. In the video, you can hear from users and developers at Colchester’s recycling centre following the app’s launch to neighbourhood teams.

There are also ongoing discussions to understand how Microsoft can amplify this Canvas App across their platform. The majority of local authorities use Microsoft and, if they have the right E3 licence, should be able to use this tool at no extra cost.

Housing Repairs Service (City of Lincoln Council)

On 27 September, the team hosted their Sprint 9 show and share session. This session featured discussions about improvements to enable the passing of descriptive information through to the DRS scheduling system, along with changes to allow standardised configuration to aid deployment of council information, such as phone numbers and service hours.

Leon Ackie (Collaboration Manager at Local Digital) has contacted the respective project leads from Lincoln, Newark and Sherwood, Hackney and Redbridge, the four councils using or installing the Housing Repairs Service, to schedule a collaborative workshop. The aim is to discuss a potential continuous funding application, the service’s development roadmap, and the business model to proceed with, as well as much more!

The workshop is likely to take place in the second week of October, with representatives from each council in attendance.

Offline Data Input Tool for Field Workers (Birmingham City Council)

The final Show and Tell for the team and the CFM funded Beta project will take place in November. The application will also go live with one of the Birmingham City Council business teams on the same date. This will provide a demonstration of the application and a testimony from a field worker.

This also presents the opportunity for the team to review the metrics associated with the project funding, council worker time saved, management of risk scoring and costs saved (as they will not have to buy proprietary systems).

In other news, the team is excited to hear how Microsoft can help share the use of this Canvas App across their regional network in the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye on our Sprint Notes and other Local Digital channels for the latest updates.

Children’s Placement Portal (Birmingham City Council)

Birmingham City Centre

The Birmingham City Council project team are looking forward to their continuous funding interview, now taking place on Friday 14 October. The team are also submitting their deliverable outputs from the project’s alpha delivery phase along with the Beta application to Local Digital this week.

Community Grants Service (Newcastle City Council)

The Newcastle City Council project was successful in their application for Beta funding as part of the continuous funding model (CFM) process.

Their funds will be received in October and they are excited to enter the Beta phase of the project. Keep an eye out for the latest updates!

Digital Waste Service (Rugby Borough Council)

DEFRA has reached out to the project team with a view to work with them on a proof of concept for their recycling project. This is really positive news as a partnership with DEFRA could lead to significant growth for the project.

Greenwich Community Directory (Royal Borough of Greenwich)

This sprint, the project team has been re-visiting prototypes around ‘support for adults’ based on staff feedback and workshops completed internally. The aim is to finalise their prototype to test with residents in the coming weeks. The prototypes on ‘support for adults’ will first be shared at an event with Primary Care staff at the end of this week.

Another highlight for the team was that they were able to effectively refine their objectives for the current phase of work. The team is going to use their clear vision and objectives to review their delivery plan and implement timescales for the rest of this phase.

Family Context (Stockport)

Source: digitalstockport.info/family-context-project-a-successful-pilot-and-an-exciting-future-ahead/

As the team aims to increase their access to centralised datasets, they faced an obstacle accessing Met Police Data for London project partners.

The ask of the Met Police is to provide any data relevant for a social worker to make an assessment of risk. The team currently have a data model of what’s needed at a minimum, although they acknowledge that each local authority may require different information to assess risk.

The Local Digital team has agreed to help the Social Finance delivery team by identifying contacts at the Met Police who lead on data governance, sit on the cross-London Safeguarding Panel, and coordinate the review of the MASH partnership.

Income Management System (Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council)

The project team has now begun to track the number of councils that have engaged with the project and/or pulled the open-source version of the code from the Github repository. This data will be used to launch engagement activities with a view to onboard these councils.

On Thursday 22 September, the team hosted a successful inception session to design the supported version of the Income Management System. Representatives from Barnsley, Dorset, Lewisham, Brighton and Hove, and Southwark were in attendance.

Low Code Solutions for Housing Management (Redbridge Council)

The project team were successful in their application for Beta funding as part of the CFM process. Keep an eye out for future updates on the project’s progress!

Future Work Design (East Riding of Yorkshire)

View the project website: humanfactors.hull.ac.uk/futureworkdesign/

The team has now completed the handover between the University of Hull design team and the technical build team. After analysing the functionality, the features and the build process, it has been agreed that a web based solution would be more advantageous considering the challenges councils face in downloading apps.

Quality Children’s Data (Wigan)

The project team is looking forward to launching the CIN tool by the end of this year after 30 people attended the learning launch events and a further 15 confirmed interest in the building of the CIN tool.

The team are interested in working with more analysts and can share a learning roadmap that prepares analysts, from absolutely no coding experience, to the level where they are ready to build. If you’d like more information, Please get in touch with the team at William.Levack-Payne@eastsussex.gov.uk

Demand Modelling for Children’s Services (East Sussex)

Steady progress was made in this sprint and the team were able to address challenges with the model in the web tool.

Forthcoming sprints will see the free, web-based version of the demand modelling tool published, private Beta release to their regional group, the publication of open source re-usable code and promotion at various sector events.

For the latest from the project team, take a look at their roadmap or visit their website.

That’s it for this sprint, thanks for reading! For the daily download on all things #LocalDigital, be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and the DLUHC Digital Blog.



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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.