Services and customers

One of the four pillars of activity through which we will achieve the vision of our digital strategy is Services and Customers. It will involve:

  • Making online services so good that most people will choose to use them.
  • Being customer-focused in all we do.
  • Working collaboratively to redesign services to be easy to access and intuitive to use.
  • Engage with Services, front-line teams and seek customer input to develop future solutions.
  • Ambitious in transforming our services and using modern technology in innovative ways to better meet the outcomes we seek.

Why is this important?

Our priority is to improve people’s lives and we can only do this if we ensure our services are designed with people’s needs truly at their heart. Regardless of how people interact with us, their experience should be simple, consistent, frictionless and seamless. By enabling the majority to interact with us online, we can devote time to supporting people who don’t have access to technology and make sure they are supported in a way that works for them. (Approximately 8-10% of our population are digitally excluded according to the ONS.)​

Our intended outcomes

  • our services are designed around the needs of our communities and are accessible online, on any device by default.​
  • our digital services are so easy to use and convenient to access that most people choose to use them.​
  • people without access to digital technologies are assisted with their access to council services.​
  • digital exclusion in the borough is reduced, with more residents having basic digital skills, access to good broadband and devices they need to use online services confidently and securely.​

We will use proven methods to design user-friendly services. At the heart of this will be engagement with staff and with our communities to help us design services that meet their needs and expectations. We will reimagine how our services are provided, maximising the potential that digital technologies offer, and fundamentally improve the experience of our users.​

Our priority projects

Our priority service redesign projects are:

children’s safeguarding

community enforcement and regulatory services

housing services

planning, building control and regulatory services

registration services

school admissions, early years and children’s services

  • These projects are are focused on improving the way we provide services and support our communities, involving the people receiving the services as well as the people delivering them, and with digital inclusion a critical consideration throughout.  ​
  • Not only will these projects deliver better services for our communities, empowering people to self-serve and manage their accounts, claims and benefits, there will also be huge benefits to staff as well. Digitising, streamlining and automating as much as possible will significantly improve the way our staff work; freeing them up to focus their efforts on the people who need our services the most.​

What we have done in 2020-2021

  • Enabled all councillors to interact digitally by providing updated equipment; giving them support and training where needed to enable them to champion digital services.​
  • Recruited staff with new skills in business analysis, content, user experience and service design.​
  • Commissioned and procured new solutions to support the priority service design projects and enable more efficient and collaborative working designed around people’s needs.​
  • Launched a Community Hub and dedicated call centre within days of the first lockdown, so that our most vulnerable residents had easy access to vital additional support.​
  • In 2020, customers carried out over 320,000 online transactions across more than 100 different services, an increase of 30% from 2019.​
  • Agreed new Customer Experience principles and new governance arrangements for the digital platform to improve our residents’ interactions with us and make them consistent and reliable across all channels.​

What we will do in 2021-2022

  • Unify and simplify legacy and fragmented communications systems as possible to enable a faster and more efficient experience for staff and residents and provide a more digitally inclusive and accessible system.​
  • Apply service design practices throughout all projects, engaging with staff and our communities, and reimagining service provision.​
  • Produce and implement a Digital Inclusion Commitment to enable us to reach out to and engage with residents who cannot or struggle to access digital services, ensuring they are provided with the support they need.​
  • Review the improvements to services introduced by new ways of working, retain and develop them to offer seamless multichannel experiences for residents, visitors and businesses.​
  • Fully review and document the organisation’s online presence, allowing us to optimise its architecture, prioritise improvements, reduce duplication, minimise confusion and meet common needs.​
  • Modernise our digital estate through adoption of common reusable components across our digital estate such as GOV.UK Pay and Notify and experiment with alternative technologies such as chat and robotic process automation.​