Sprint Notes #58

Local Digital
Local Digital
Published in
6 min readNov 1, 2022

13–26 October 2022

Welcome to Sprint Notes #58! In this issue, find out how to join the Future Councils pilot, read about Local Digital team member Ellen Goodman’s journey to becoming a User Researcher and hear the latest updates from our funded projects.

News from the team

Applications are now open for Future Councils — partner with Local Digital on cyber and digital reform

Future Councils is a partnership between Local Digital and a group of councils to deliver replicable pathways to digital and cyber security reform that other councils can follow.

Starting with a pilot in January 2023, we want to work with six councils to help drive organisation-wide change by supporting improvements across:

  • cybersecurity
  • staff skills
  • systems and software
  • user experience of digital services
  • back-end processes for council staff

Together, we will test and iterate our next phase of work to help local government meet the ambitions of the Local Digital Declaration, with the aim to expand to a bigger cohort in mid-2023. Each partner council will receive up to £750k to work with us over six months.

Read our latest blog post to learn more about this opportunity and why we’re taking this approach.

The Local Digital team conducting a Future Councils workshop

To support applications, we’re hosting a dedicated Q&A session on the #dluhc-future-councils Slack channel on Wednesday 2 November, 11am to 12pm. Not available then? Don’t worry we’ll be regularly monitoring the Slack channel to answer any questions. You can also email your queries to futurecouncils@localdigital.gov.uk.

Visit the Local Digital website to apply to join the Future Councils pilot by 5:30pm on Friday 18 November 2022.

The Local Digital Fund Round 6 — our most ambitious round yet.

We’re looking to award approximately £2.5 million in funding for Discovery, Alpha or Beta projects that help councils transform their digital services.

We want to fund projects that will make local government services safer, more resilient and cheaper to run.

These projects will help us create the next generation of local public services, where technology is an enabler rather than a barrier to service improvements, and services are user-centred.

  • Discovery projects can apply for funding up to £100,000
  • Alpha projects can apply for up to £180,000
  • Beta projects can apply for up to £350,000

Applications for Round 6 will close on Thursday 24 November 2022.

Do you have a question? Take a look at our previously asked questions or watch our Round 6 webinar.

Couldn’t find an answer? Email fund@localdigital.gov.uk.

Visit our website to find out more and apply.

Meet the Local Digital team: Ellen Goodman, User Researcher

Our Meet the Team blog series shines a spotlight on members of the Local Digital team, showcasing just some of the incredible expertise and hard work that goes on behind the scenes!

In our latest issue, Ellen Goodman tells us about her journey to becoming a User Researcher and how retraining has benefited her career.

Read Ellen’s story.

News from our funded projects

Community Grants Service (Newcastle City Council)

Paul Doney, ICT Applications Manager and Project Lead, gave a helpful presentation at the Local Digital Fund Round 6 webinar on Wednesday 19 October, providing advice on how to develop a successful application for the Local Digital Fund and what subsequent opportunities he has received. Paul also answered questions from other councils considering applying and his insights were greatly appreciated.

Greenwich Community Directory (Royal Borough of Greenwich)

The team have finished prototyping the end-to-end journey for the adults section of the Community Directory. They are now completing testing with a range of users to finalise their design plan.

They’ve also started a technical proof of concept to demonstrate how they would create their prototypes using Outpost for the back-end and Local Gov Drupal for the front-end software development.

Conversations are continuing with a range of councils to form partnerships and many are interested in using Greenwich’s solution for their own community directories.

Please get in touch with Alex Sturtivant if you’d like to hear more.


Family Context (Stockport)

Source: https://www.digitalstockport.info/family-context-project-the-design-sprint-beyond/

The project focus continues to be data governance and accessing critical data.

Working with a DLUHC policy colleague, the team have made contact with the new Data Lead at the Metropolitan Police and have a meeting set for two weeks’ time.

Demand Modelling for Children’s Services (East Sussex)

In a recent team catch up, the team addressed the issue of the python tool not delivering the same results as the excel tool.

Kai Siebert, Chief Information Officer at Social Finance (a delivery partner for East Sussex), used Juptyerlite to demo how the maths behind the tool works and how a user inputs data.

The project is on track to deliver the free-to-use single user version and the software service version for children service commissioners. They will be looking to use this tool in late autumn in preparation for their annual returns.

Income Management System (Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council)

Development work has focused on the creation of a bootstrap prototype to assist in resolving accessibility issues identified in the accessibility audit. The plan is to transition the entire user interface to Bootstrap which will take an estimated three to four sprints.

The team have also resolved a bug which means they can now clearly identify when an import to the system has failed.

Work continues on standardising the address formats used across all areas.

Housing Repairs Service (City of Lincoln Council)

On Tuesday 25 October, the project team held their Sprint 11 show and share session.

In the past week, the project team was joined by Tom Harrison from Redbridge Council, who shared why they have chosen to implement the Housing Repairs Service and the different set up they have to manage integration with the scheduling system (MCM) for their repairs contractor, Mears.

Children’s Placement Portal (Birmingham City Council)

The Children’s Placement Portal project has been successful in its application for continuous funding through Local Digital. The team is excited to enter the beta delivery phase.

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.



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.