Digital transformation – Leicestershire County Council

Joel Rosen,
Government Fast Streamer
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

Joel is on the government Fast Steam service and is currently spending six-month placements at various government departments. He spent his last six months at the Centre, focusing primarily on the role of ‘digital’. For his last hurrah, Joel spoke to five different local places to understand more about their digital transformation journeys with the aim of being able to share their experiences to help others in a similar situation. There will be a blog published every day this week so keep reading to find out more.

Jo Morrison, head of communications and digital at Leicestershire County Council, opened my eyes to the art of the possible. Her thoughts were reflective of the wider challenges councils around the country are facing in an environment of austerity, and the innovative solutions they are finding to provide excellent services for their citizens by undergoing digital transformation.

Leicestershire kicked off their work with a strategy: to harness the economic benefits of digital; to use digital as a first choice to deliver services 24/7; to only adopt systems that added value; and to focus on the cultural aspect of their way of working rather than just on the tech. They bring the right people together: digital, IT, business intelligence, customer services and front line teams are working together on problems,  thereby linking up customer needs and requirements. They launched a new website, interestingly with no Single Sign On – user research bore out that few people used it. The council also made use of single platforms or tools to find or request services, and have started to ensure that data is linked end-to-end – so no re-keying by intermediaries from one system to another.

And boy are they seeing results. The application process for a Blue Badge was shrunk to a matter of minutes online. Their reporting tool ensures information flows directly to ‘highways’ instead of being re-keyed. The school admissions process was made more transparent. Fostering and adoption recruitment, a tortuously long and expensive process with reams of paperwork is being revolutionised through an ambitious programme, with transition to a paperless panel, digital recruitment, and support to retain foster carers provided digitally.

In terms of how they managed their transformation, Leicestershire has maintained in-house project management, but procured development resource for its new site. They ensured most of the tools were open source to maintain flexibility.

Leicestershire is making early progress, and with unwavering ambition, they’re clear that there is much more to be done on digital. We look forward to hearing more about their journey and helping them spread knowledge of their good practice.

To read more from Joel’s week of digital transformation blogs, visit our main blogs page.

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