Sprint Notes #74

Local Digital
Local Digital
Published in
8 min readOct 25

2 October to 16 October

Welcome to Sprint Notes #74! In this issue, you can hear initial findings from the Local Digital programme evaluation in a recent webinar, join one of the upcoming DLUHC Digital Recruitment Days, and read about the latest news from our funded projects.

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News from Local Digital

Hear initial findings from the Local Digital programme evaluation

On Wednesday 18 October, PUBLIC hosted a webinar to share some of their initial findings from the Local Digital Evaluation Survey. This included a discussion on some of the main digital priorities for councils and the challenges they’re facing, as well as benchmarking on topics like cloud adoption, legacy spend, and service area transformation.

If you missed it, you can now watch the recording on our YouTube channel. You can also read our recent blog post to learn more about the survey and get a snapshot of our initial findings.

Catch up on the progress of our Future Councils pilot

During the last 6 weeks, the Future Councils team have been analysing findings and hosting three Roundtable events around the country. In the latest Future Councils update, you can read about:

  • the final session with our 8 cohort councils
  • our roundtable events
  • the next steps for the Future Councils programme

Read Future Councils update #4

Join DLUHC Digital Recruitment Days in the West Midlands

On 1, 2, 8 and 9 November, the DLUHC Digital team will host its first Digital Recruitment Days at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton

Our Digital Recruitment Days will offer an opportunity for digital professionals on the lookout for a meaningful and exciting career to meet, connect with our digital teams and potentially get hired.

Each day will be dedicated to different roles and we’ll welcome Product Managers, Delivery Managers, Business Analysts, User Researchers, Live Service Managers and Technical Architects. Learn more and register.

News from our Round 6 funded projects

Improving social care hospital discharges (Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council)

The project team has successfully resolved data quality issues and made improvements to their dashboard.

The updated dashboard is now being used regularly by colleagues, informing discussions around capacity and reasons for client status not changing. They are sharing dashboard updates with key colleagues across the NHS and the local authority daily.

Delivering an infrastructure mapping platform (Kent County Council)

The Kent project team has restructured their online workspace to align with agile principles and is currently testing options within the team. They’re in discussions with Kent Analytics and the Local Digital Fund (LDF) team in regards to additional funding opportunities, though the project might be delayed due to ONS data.

They’ve worked closely with the LDF and PUBLIC team for project evaluation, attended the LDF PropTech workshop, and had a successful Project Board meeting with their sponsor, agreeing on district engagement communication and the Kent Connect presentation.

Their work continues with the ongoing development of the platform, including mapping and dashboards, as well as the creation of a data tracker for project and progress monitoring. They’re in discussions with external groups who have similar data requirements.

They plan to streamline the data sourcing process and will welcome a new team member, a Graduate Data Analyst, in early November to support this. Invitations for the next round of district engagement are ready to be sent out.

In an upcoming brainstorming session, they’ll prioritise core data for phase 1 and create a sprint plan / timeline based on the project plan.

Exploring barriers to online engagement with council services (South Ribble Borough Council)

Exploring barriers to online engagement with council services (South Ribble Borough Council)

The project team has reached the stage of awarding the User Researcher contract and the supplier has been contacted. The contract is now in the process of being reviewed and approved by both the council’s and the supplier’s legal teams.

In the next sprint, their focus is to gain final approval on the contracts and ensure they are signed. They also plan to schedule a kick-off meeting between the supplier and partner councils. This is expected to take place during the week beginning 6 November due to annual leave and the availability of council representatives.

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

The project team has completed the evaluation of the first stage of the procurement process. They’ve now shortlisted suppliers for stage 2 and published the requirements, which involves a written proposal and presentation.

They are currently arranging the supplier presentations for the upcoming sprint and are expecting to receive written proposals. Additionally, they are in the process of creating evaluation metrics for the discovery.

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

In the last sprint, the project team conducted pop-up style user research sessions at two locations in Redbridge. The first was held at the Central Library and the second at a local polyclinic, where they managed to speak to around 30 participants. With this research, they’ve been able to further understand where residents spend most of their time, where they go for information and what adult social care means to them.

The team are now speaking with three separate community groups: Redbridge Day Opportunities, Hainault Community Cafe and One Place East. Their aim is to explore other ways residents can look for support and the role that community groups play in ensuring residents stay independent for longer.

In the next sprint, they are planning to complete co-design sessions to take forward the work.

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

The project’s supplier Glue Reply has contacted stakeholders and conducted initial interviews with three quarters of them. The team is currently waiting for them to send lists of appropriate interviewees so those user research interviews can be scheduled. GMCA has provided Glue Reply with the relevant documentation and continues to liaise with them to finalise the contract.

In the next sprint, their goals are to conduct user research interviews with participants, gaining deeper insights into the current processes and work methods. They’ll also work on developing personas and exploring potential solutions.

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

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

In Sprint 0, the project team focused on adapting to Agile ways of working and using the Scrum methodology. They successfully completed all the user stories that were set at the start of the sprint, including the task of putting all starter, mover and leaver forms in one place for end users.

Sprint 1 began on Wednesday 18 October and involves engaging with users through in-person sessions and online surveys to collect feedback on the outcome of Sprint 0. The team is beginning the process of reducing the number of forms required for the process from 4 to 2.

In addition, the team is planning to attend the Local Digital Fund in-person event on 31 October in Manchester.

Continuous funding model (CFM) projects

Low Code Digital Waste Service (Dorset Council)

The project team has now completed the information pack and circulated it with various organisations that have expressed an interest. They’ve continued conversations with councils to set out the steps to implement the system.

The upcoming tasks for the team involve advancing discussions with the councils that are interested in the product.

Greenwich Community Directory (Royal Borough of Greenwich)

Over the last 2 weeks, the project team has achieved the following:

  • Continuing the build of the first version of the new directory — Hannah has addressed a few minor bugs in the header and progressed with the grid template for page layout. Niall has been actively working on the footer whilst Finn successfully completed the upgrade of the website to Drupal 10, ensuring long-term support.
  • Writing new content — Alysia’s been writing new signposting guide content about mental and physical health, in collaboration with colleagues in Public Health. This content will be on the new directory while the rest will go on the main council website.
  • Collaborating with other local authorities — Alex organised the fifth Scout and Outpost community meet-up, with other local authorities who are using the same product. The event included demonstrations of new features and discussions about future product support.
  • Working on our team processes — The team established a new ‘definition of done’ for development work to ensure a shared understanding of task completion and better task management.
    They emphasised the importance of following sprint goals to maintain focus.

In the next sprint, the team plans to:

  • continue developing front-end components
  • advance their Drupal work, particularly focusing on the ‘all listings’ content type
  • work on finalising technical tasks for correctly hosting Outpost on their AWS platform

Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interoperability SAVVI (Somerset Council)

In this sprint, the project team collaborated with the Data Standards Authority to host the second Cross Government Vulnerability Working Group Meeting. They proposed three product descriptions for sub-working groups.

The team also engaged with government departments to standardise DWP data access. Additionally, they made progress on SAVVI case study projects, such as supporting GMCA’s data mesh project, the Rural Child Poverty project, and reviewing the Wigan Civil Contingencies project.

They’ve supported further activities such as helping to update the Local Digital “Case for Open Referral” project with references on potential savings from early interventions.

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.