Sprint Notes #67

Local Digital
Local Digital
Published in
11 min readJul 19

26 June to 10 July

Welcome to Sprint Notes #67! In this edition, find out how you can join us as we continue to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Local Digital Declaration during July. Plus, you can read our latest Council Spotlight with Rushmoor Borough Council and updates from our funded projects.

Subscribe to Local Digital’s fortnightly Sprint Notes to get the latest news direct to your inbox.

News from Local Digital

Only two weeks left to join the fifth anniversary of the Local Digital Declaration celebrations!

This July, join us in celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Local Digital Declaration by sharing your stories and digital achievements on social media.

We’re using our channels to showcase the work of our signatories and highlight the impact the Declaration has had on the local digital community.

If you would like to take part, download one of our social media graphics to include in your celebratory posts. Take a look at the tweets below for some inspiration ⤵

What to include in your social media posts

In your posts, you might like to talk about:

  • the impact the Declaration has had at your organisation
  • how you have adopted the principles of the Declaration
  • how the Declaration has changed your ways of working or thinking
  • how the Declaration has enabled you to work with or learn from others in the community

You could also use this as an opportunity to promote a blog post or other piece of content that you’ve previously produced that celebrates your digital achievements.

If you’re using Twitter, make sure you include the hashtag #LocalDigital5Years in your tweets and tag @LDgovUK so we can retweet them for you! If you have any questions about this campaign, please reach out to us on campaigns@localdigital.gov.uk.

Council Spotlight: Rushmoor Council’s digital election service

In our latest Council Spotlight, Rushmoor Borough Council tell us how they took a user-centred approach to digitalising and improving their Elections service.

Read the blog post to find out how the new digital service is already easing the pressure on their Elections team and leading to a more seamless and user-friendly experience for their residents. Read the Rushmoor Council Spotlight.

Measuring the impact of the Local Digital programme — call to all councils

As you may be aware, we have commissioned an independent evaluation of the Local Digital programme to better understand the challenges faced by councils in digital and cyber security and measure the impact of the programme.

We’re now inviting all councils to participate in our user research.

We believe this evaluation will have lots of benefits for your council, including:

  • providing a snapshot of your digital and cyber maturity against other councils
  • sharing your best practices and successes across the sector
  • building an evidence base to help you to make digital and cyber decisions

The survey should take no more than 40 minutes to complete. If you have any questions, please email hello@socitm.net

An update on our website improvement work

We just wanted to share a quick update on the user research we conducted recently to identify ways to improve the Local Digital website.

We spoke to a range of local government staff across different regions and roles, including both those that use the website regularly and those who have never used it before.

We’ve now analysed the findings and identified some improvements we can make. These include:

  • improving the search function and the main menu to make it quicker and easier for visitors to get to the information they need
  • making the purpose of the site clearer, specifically what is on offer for council staff (such as training and funding opportunities)
  • making some of the pages less content heavy, with a clearer call-to-action

We’re now working out what tasks and content to prioritise before we begin implementing changes.

If you would like to be involved in future user testing, please email holly@localdigital.gov.uk to register your interest. Thanks again to everyone who took part in the interviews!

Northern WARP conference

Local Digital team members Phil James, Egle Shaw and Rachel Downes presented and answered questions at a Northern WARP Live Lounge session on Friday 14 July.

In the session we had the opportunity to showcase all aspects of our programme:

  • Rachel provided a detailed update on our cyber progress, including the Cyber Assessment Framework and an overview of Future Councils
  • Egle discussed the Local Digital Fund, including its achievements and successes, and provided some detailed insights from our Northern funded projects
  • Phil shared a range of useful resources and explained how to find out more about our work.

News from our Round 6 funded projects

As we continue to deliver our learning sessions and project governance boards, our projects have made significant progress.

Photos from our Prototyping and our Introduction to Content Design Local Digital Fund learning sessions

Many have completed their initial recruitment efforts and delivered their kick-off session. There has been great attendance at local government training courses and our learning sessions. The next step for many projects is to begin development or finalise their discovery plans.

Delivering an infrastructure mapping platform (Kent County Council)

The project team has made significant recruitment progress, appointing a Data Coordinator and Communications Officer who will join in September. Interviews for the Data Analyst position are ongoing, and the advert for the Data Analyst Graduate role will be published once internal HR processes are completed.

Development work on the platform has started following a kick-off meeting on 20 June. The first update meeting is scheduled for 13 July, where positive progress will be made. The County Council Project Management office has provided support in securing processes from ICT partners.

Scaling a rapid identification tool for vulnerable households in an emergency (Westmorland and Furness Council)

The project team recently organised a successful user workshop involving stakeholders from the North East and Cumbria region. They focused on project governance, stakeholder mapping, communication plans, and conducted an interactive demonstration of the VIPER system in Cumbria. Tailwind Digital began working on the project and facilitated this workshop on Monday 10 July.

In the next sprint, the team will confirm project governance based on stakeholder feedback. They will adopt a workstream-based approach for effective management.

Further upcoming tasks include working with Data and Information Governance staff from partners, raising awareness of VIPER, resolving data sharing issues and applying Cumbria’s learnings to the North East.

Improving Local Authority Building Control Services (London Borough of Lambeth)

The project team has officially kicked off the discovery and gathered in-person at Bracknell Forest’s offices. They aligned their vision for what an improved and modern Building Control service would look like and identified key stakeholders. The team began creating an as-is service map to identify pain points and will present it at each partners’ offices.

Planning for the first Show and Tell session is underway, which is set to take place during the project meeting on Tuesday 11 July. This will be the first meeting for product owners.

In the upcoming sprint, Lambeth’s project team will be interviewing Building Control officers to understand their use and opinions of existing back office systems. The findings from these interviews will be combined with the process map to identify areas for improvement.

They are finalising arrangements for the next in-person meeting, set to be held at the offices of Bath and North East Somerset in July.

Improving housing advice services to prevent homelessness (London Borough of Newham)

The project team is currently procuring a supplier for the discovery phase via the CCS Digital Outcomes framework. The timeline has experienced a slight delay due to assessing phase one responses, but three suppliers have now been shortlisted and documentation is being prepared.

In the next sprint, they will publish the second phase of the procurement process.

Improving social care hospital discharges (Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council)

The Stockport project team have published the prototype dashboard and received feedback on capacity, length of stay, and reasons for delayed discharge. The team found the capacity and length of stay data useful, particularly when broken down by location.

They are now working on capturing reasons for delays by adding new fields to the form with standard response options. This will help identify bed occupancy and reasons for beds remaining occupied beyond the estimated discharge date. The team is updating the dashboard and will begin capturing data in the next sprint. They have temporarily paused twice-weekly updates while they check they have all the necessary fields.

In the upcoming sprint, they plan to publish the updated dashboard, meet with the Leeds Integrated Care Board (ICB) to understand their mobile app, and demo the prototype solution with Manchester and Oldham for feedback.

Exploring barriers to online engagement (South Ribble Borough Council)

During this sprint, members of the project team attended training sessions provided by DLUHC on topics such as procurement and agile working.

They are continuing to explore the options for a User Researcher to join the project and have arranged a call with James Rosenberg and Egle Shaw from Local Digital to gain a better understanding of how to plan research effectively and make the most of a User Researcher’s expertise.

Digital smart flood warning system (Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council)

The project team recently held an update meeting to discuss the future scope and plans for the project. Following the meeting, they had a productive discussion with Phil and Kirk from Local Digital, which helped them gain better focus.

Phil James and Kirk Robinson from Local Digital at Leeds University for the Wakefield Project workshop

Before the end of July, the team will organise a face-to-face workshop to finalise the scope and create a roadmap with clear goals. However, they are considering delaying the project start date until after the summer school holidays to ensure the availability of the team.

The team is also developing a webpage on the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) website through West Yorkshire Flood Innovation Programme (WY FLIP), which will go live soon.

Improving the automation of the starters, movers and leavers process (Southampton City Council)

The project team at Southampton are in the process of creating a scoping document and conducting background analysis to structure workshops with key stakeholders from partner councils.

They are still assembling their project team, including a Product Owner and other Agile team members. IT managers are currently identifying additional IT resources to support delivery.

In the next sprint, the project team aims to identify team members and confirm availability. This will be followed by the initial kick-off sessions to discuss the project’s scope and priorities.

Work will also begin with the HR team to create an initial roadmap and identify key focus areas.

Digitising bulk waste collections (North Tyneside Council)

The project team’s initial data assessment is taking slightly longer than expected. They are currently analysing the data to gain an understanding of what has been included in the collection so far. The goal is to determine if any crucial information is missing that needs to be added to progress with the project.

In the upcoming sprint, the team plans to finalise the data set and make any adjustments based on their findings.

Prototyping a digital taxi licensing service (Rushmoor Borough Council)

The Rushmoor project team has completed sprint zero for their alpha project and scheduled their kick-off for 11 and 12 July. This will mark the beginning of 12 weeks of collaboration with Licensing teams from four local authorities.

Despite technical issues with the CAS platform, which prevented them from completing the procurement process initially, the team successfully evaluated proposals and selected suppliers. It has been confirmed that Zaizi will be their delivery partner and provide support throughout the project. They have begun laying the foundations of the project with Zaizi and are planning initial workshops.

The first Show and Tell session is approaching, and the team is looking forward to sharing their progress. In the next sprint, the delivery team will define the scope, ways of working, research objectives and the research plan.

Investigating a digital support hub for carers (London Borough of Southwark)

Over the next two weeks, the London Borough of Southwark team will focus on defining the project requirements in close collaboration with the project steering group. They will also work on completing the first draft of the DOS Outcomes Requirements template. The team is beginning to target suppliers to support the project delivery. This includes plans to reach out to potential suppliers from the provided CCS list for initial market scoping discussions.

User journeys into adult social care (ASC) (London Borough of Redbridge)

The project team is close to finalising the selection of a supplier to support the discovery project. During this sprint, they also conducted interviews with the First Contact team to identify process gaps and understand the demand.

In preparation for upcoming stakeholder interview sessions in September, the team has been collecting data from specific user groups. This data will be included in a preparatory pack for the project’s kick-off meeting.

In the next sprint, the team will focus on mapping out key user journeys for the discovery phase. They will pay particular attention to the journeys of people in a crisis, and those in need of support.

The team will track user journeys through the department’s website to gain insights. Additionally, they will assess common call enquiries, such as requests for home equipment, to identify any recurring issues that could be improved.

Continuous funding model (CFM) projects

Low Code Digital Waste Service (Dorset Council)

During this sprint, the project team started developing the Bin Collection Day reminders service and are working on user stories for the Garden Waste Subscription reminders.

Recent insights from Dorset Council regarding their Commercial Waste collection service quoting tool and pricing model has provided valuable understanding. Different options are being assessed to ensure project delivery within constraints.

In the upcoming sprint, the team will start on Business Account and Commerce stories. Integration with Dorset Council’s back-office waste management system is being planned, utilising previous work.

They will also be looking for user research participants, and clickable design prototypes will be refined for demonstration to service users. The feedback gathered will inform future service design iterations.

Children’s placement portal (Birmingham City Council)

In the recent sprint, the Birmingham project team completed the mobilisation phase research and gap analysis from the alpha phase has begun. They have also started mapping the technical design process.

In the upcoming two weeks, interviews will be conducted as part of research with the various participants. Furthermore, they are developing a high level database scheme design and technical design.

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 Sprint Notes

Subscribe to Local Digital’s fortnightly Sprint Notes to stay up-to-date with our 17 new funded projects as well as previously funded projects.

You’ll also be able to hear our latest team news and share your feedback.

Subscribe to Local Digital Sprint Notes



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.