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LGSS Digital Blog

Service design for local government

Cheryl Doran

Head of Digital

Why do we need a digital service?

Digital is not about technology, it’s the reality of the world we live in, and we need to be ready to respond to that challenge.   This means doing things differently and learning new skills.

Almost every strategy or local service plan contains the ambition to “do more with less”, “channel shift” or “digital by default”.  With ever tightening financial constraints, small iterative change will not deliver any of these ambitions on a large scale.

Customers – both internal and external – are already using excellent digital services in their private lives.  They expect the same when they interact with the public sector.  Our traditional IT systems and services were set up to strongly support internal business processes, not to serve the customer or users needs.

Why was the collective response for digital services not good?

Typically, the way that services have gone about IT change is to start looking at what they want to do and then pushing that to fit into a specific line of business system that they “own”.  This has meant that processes have been shoehorned into old fashioned legacy systems, creating truly terrible customer and user experiences.  These suppliers have attempted to keep up with the pace of change and have created online modules, many of which are very expensive, can only be used for one service and are difficult to use.

Many of these improvements have been done with a siloed service team directly with a supplier with the involvement of IT limited to asking for servers to be made available.  In many cases the corporate customer services team are not involved and there is no way to see customer journeys across the organisation.   This has led to organisations having increasing costs of technology, lots of small applications and less control because it is siloed across service departments.

Many services don’t even start the thought process to go digital, sometimes because culturally they’re not ready, others because they lack funding or the barriers in the way are too big.

 

Great digital services are so good, people prefer to use them.

What do great digital services look like?

They are services so good, people prefer to use them.

They flow seamlessly, are easy to use and add value both to the user and the organisation.

They are available 24/7 and easy to support and change.

How can LGSS Digital help?

LGSS Digital is a new service within the IT Directorate to provide leadership and support to our partners and customers in realising their digital ambitions for their priorities.   We are agile, and work with our partners to build delivery teams, led by them to a set of digital service design principles.  We can provide technical expertise to exploit existing platforms and use bespoke code to deliver real user needs.  We de-mystify the technical delivery of the product, and help our customers to truly own and feel proud of what gets built.