Sprint Notes #70

Local Digital
Local Digital
Published in
8 min readAug 31

7 August to 21 August

Welcome to the 70th edition of Local Digital’s Sprint Notes!

In this issue, hear the latest on our ambition for Future Councils and meet our newest team members. Plus, stay updated with the news 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

Hear the latest on our ambition for the Future Councils programme

Speaking to UKAuthority, Emily Sullivan (Local Digital Head of Product) explains why we’re working with councils to explore the systemic challenges councils face, and how we hope that, through Future Councils, we will be able to find scalable approaches to improving sector-wide challenges in the longer term.

Read Emily’s article

Meet our new team members

UKAuthority’s Resilience & Cyber4Good

Wednesday 20 September to Friday 22 September, 11am to 12:30pm

Resilience is key in the ever-evolving landscape of cyber security. Join UKAuthority for another virtual conference on cyber resilience running over three mornings. Hear from cyber experts across the public sector, including Rachel Downs, Senior Product Manager at Local Digital.

Sign up for UKAuthority’s Resilience & Cyber4Good

News from our Round 6 funded projects

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

The Lambeth project team met with PUBLIC, part of the consortium delivering the evaluation of the Local Digital programme, to discuss evaluation for their project. They’ve started gathering data from partners like Bath and North East Somerset and Bracknell to create a baseline understanding of the system.

They have also explored how to record gathered insights systematically for future workshops. An introductory meeting will brief their new user researcher, followed by a workshop at Lambeth offices on 11 September.

In the upcoming sprint, they will assess the collected data for a useful baseline metrics picture and will begin creating a national survey with input from the user researcher to gather customer and officer feedback. Inspiration for this will be drawn from a previous town planning project.

Digitising bulk waste collections (North Tyneside)

The North Tyneside project team are currently focused on finalising their job pack to recruit a user researcher. In addition, the team is making progress in the discussions and assessment of project benefits. After these conversations, they will be taking a closer look at their data collection methods to ensure they have accurate and appropriate data available.

For the upcoming sprint, the team aims to publish the user researcher job role. Alongside this, they are working on confirming the data fields required for assessing project benefits.

Exploring Automated Health and Social Care Assessment (Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames)

Project roadmap

The project team has been involved in various tasks this sprint, including a visit to West Berkshire Council to gain insights into their processes for handling cases. The team conducted a comparison of the adult social care process with five out of seven partner councils. This involved identifying similarities, differences, and challenges.

The team has identified the questions asked at the point of triage to understand the steps a team manager would take to prioritise cases. Following this, they’ve reached out to partner councils to request case data.

Looking ahead, they will be focused on technology related aspects. The team is planning an assessment of the technologies used by partners. Furthermore, the team is preparing to analyse the collected data to spot patterns related to care provision.

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

The teams have now completed their initial review of the scoping document for the project. The comments are now being reviewed and responses drafted. Currently only minor changes have been identified.

The first versions of the project roadmap and backlog are currently being created with the product owner. The initial project meetings have been scheduled for early September to introduce the team to the project and Agile ways of working.

Work producing the roadmap and backlog will continue in the next sprint so this can be discussed with the wider team at the initial scrum team sessions in September.

Digital smart flood warning system (Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council)

The workshop held on 17 July at Leeds University, hosted by ICASP, was crucial for the project team to finalise the roadmap. Phil James and Kirk Robinson from the Local Digital team joined them and ‘provided useful insights into their expectations from a discovery phase project’.

Photo from the recent workshop where the project team discussed the roadmap

In the upcoming sprint, the team will provide details of their first workshop related to the roadmap and focusing on service responders. After this, the team will be completing interviews with project team members to gain answers to questions asked from roadmap discussions.

Sharing data to safeguard missing vulnerable adults (Greater Manchester Combined Authority)

The project team has now completed the second round of external procurement, selecting Glue Reply as the successful supplier. A kick-off meeting was held with Glue Reply on Monday 21 August to make a quick start.

In the upcoming sprint, the team plans to draft and finalise the contract, raise purchase orders and arrange a sprint zero meeting. This meeting will be organised once the meeting’s content and objectives are defined and agreed upon by stakeholders. Plus, the team will create a Project Initiation Document (PID), establish a Teams channel, and provide necessary access to the supplier.

Delivering an infrastructure mapping platform (Kent County Council)

The project team has been engaged with a wide range of background mechanics for the mapping platform. They took the brave step of activating the ArcGIS for SharePoint mapping connector, allowing them to seamlessly integrate maps into the platform rather than relying on external mapping apps. Progress has been a mix of successes and challenges, as some map layers encountered issues once added to SharePoint.

Testing of PowerApps revealed that they are not suitable due to accessibility concerns for users. Fortunately, most intended functionalities can be achieved using embedded PowerBI dashboards.

In addition to platform development, a productive meeting was held with Phil James (Community and Engagement Manager at Local Digital), discussing user engagement and defining success parameters. Ideas formed from this meeting will be utilised in the platform to onboard the user base effectively.

In the next few weeks, the project team will focus on completing content for the general/overview sections of the site. This content will enable site testers, who are also users, to assess the site’s appearance and experience without delving into technical details.

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

During this sprint, the project team has been focused on introducing their partner to the project and defining the scope and objectives for the upcoming kick-off in September. The team has also updated the existing user journeys and data to focus on priority areas. Communication has been established with council partners, informing them that they will be engaged and are a key part of this project.

The next step for the project includes ensuring their partner is up-to-date with all the research previously collected. Additionally, user research sessions have been scheduled with a range of user groups.

Exploring barriers to online engagement (South Ribble Borough Council)

During the recent sprint, the project team has been collaborating closely with their procurement team to determine the most suitable method for acquiring a user researcher. They have identified a method they’d like to proceed with and are currently working to establish a partner. They have engaged in productive discussions with potential partners and provided them with the details to produce a quote.

Due to the holiday season, the team faced some challenges engaging with potential suppliers this month. As a result, they have scheduled follow-up meetings for the week beginning 5 September. Throughout this sprint, the team will be available to address any inquiries from suppliers as they work towards finalising the partnership.

Planning consultation data sharing (Epping Forest District Council)

In the recent sprint, the project team focussed on designing an engagement strategy for elective members, progressing the recruitment of a digital delivery manager, and understanding the potential benefit of a consultation from CitizenLab. They have confirmed technical user online sessions, and planned future activities.

Next steps for the project include the gathering and analysis of data sharing agreements from partners and the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) scheme, and the development of a communications and engagement plan draft. The team plans to complete the final technical user group sessions, with four out of five conducted. They will also be developing deliverables for public research.

Continuous funding model (CFM) projects

Low-code patterns for housing management (London Borough of Redbridge)

Housing management prototype homepage staged on Figma

The team are keen to find more councils to test their prototypes, with the hope to define common service patterns for their tenancy management processes. They are looking for contributions from a number of Housing Officers across a range of councils and anticipate this will require 1 to 2 hours of the officers’ time. Examples of the prototypes can be viewed on Figma.

To get involved, email: tom.harrison@redbridge.gov.uk

Greenwich Community Directory (Royal Borough of Greenwich)

The project team is making progress in transforming the service listings content, having completed over 160 out of 400 listings.

Progress is being made with the design system components and all content types have been set up in LocalGov Drupal, ready to be populated with components.

The team is giving significant attention to governance, emphasising stakeholder engagement, and preparations for the upcoming go-live phase.

A recent Show and Tell session took place, and you can access a playlist of the session on YouTube:

Income management system (Dorset Council)

The Dorset project team have been involved in ongoing discussions with councils, technical experts and third-party organisations. These discussions have three key themes: council adopters, support and governance.

Looking forward, the team focus will be on improving the technical documentation to support conversations and the alignment of the three identified themes.

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
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.