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Greenwich launches four-year digital strategy

Strategy is based on six principles, including focusing on the needs of residents and being data-led and agile, and aims to create a truly digital council and borough

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has launched a four-year digital strategy, setting out how to to build a digital council and borough.

The digital strategy aims to improve resident, visitor, business and staff experience through digital services and tools, making it easier to interact with the council.

“True transformation involves not just putting services online, but totally rethinking how those services are offered,” the strategy said. “It’s a cross-functional activity, involving teams from across the council as well as outside.”

The council said its vision for a “happier, healthier and more joined-up borough” was already an urgent need, but the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated the urgency and will to change.

Greenwich wants to build a better resident experience both through services and information, with people able to “get what they want from us, the first time they try, and not need multiple touch points to do simple tasks”, as well as having happier and more efficient staff.

It also wants to create a better understanding of its residents by using joined-up data in a smarter way.

“We will be using modern technology to join datasets and get insights which allow us to continuously improve our services and make better decisions,” it said.

The strategy is based on six principles that will guide the borough’s work, including focusing on residents’ needs, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

“We will use research and data to better understand need in our borough, and will use this to build and develop products and services to meet those needs,” the strategy said.

“We will make our services accessible to all, working to improve our digital inclusion and not leave anyone behind. We will test all services to make sure they are simple and intuitive, and support those who are unable or unwilling to go online.”

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The council will also focus on treating its staff as valued users, ensuring the borough has a clear view of what staff need to do their jobs, and leave the era of “big bang IT” and large outsourcing deals behind.

“We will work to bring our core services and platforms in-house, where we can better control and iterate them to meet user need,” the strategy said.

Another principle is to be agile and iterative by embracing new ways of delivery, “moving from large, static and opaque programmes to small, iterative work packages backed up with research and data”. It also aims to reduce bureaucracy and paperwork.

The borough has already begun some work towards going digital, including signing the Local Digital Declaration, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Government Digital Service, aiming to set out how councils can transform public services.  

It has also signed a contract for a low-code platform called Digital Place, as well as moving its office productivity tools into the cloud and giving staff more than 2,000 mobile devices to enable remote working.

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