Blog 20 March 2019

Accelerating local government digital transformation

by Richard Billington


Deep funding cuts have forced local government to find efficiency savings to maintain service delivery.

Is the end of austerity in sight? It’s debatable, but it’s unlikely that English councils will be able to easily pull themselves out of the funding black hole, estimated to be almost £8 billion by 2025. Councils must find innovative ways to secure their financial stability and prevent the collapse of local services.

Delivering digital to relieve some pressure

Delivering services digitally is one route most councils are exploring. This helps to lower expenditure by reducing avoidable contact. But, more importantly, it’s a way to engage better with citizens. Plus, providing more choice and autonomy also has a positive impact on customer/citizen experience.

But, what we hear from many councils is that they’re unable to deliver digital transformation efficiently enough to achieve their aims. 

Point solutions tend to create silos of information that can’t be usefully connected. And, if new citizen-facing solutions cannot be integrated with established systems, it’s a huge struggle to achieve the promised benefits.

A better approach to digital transformation

The Local Digital Declaration outlines ambitions for the next generation of local public services, incorporating a number of guiding principles. It calls on councils to designing services around the needs of citizens, deliver value for money and break the dependency on inflexible technology that doesn’t join up effectively.

Flexibility and integration were also key themes in the January 2019 SOCITM Policy Briefing, identifying the use of low-code digital systems as a likely trend in public sector IT over the coming year.

A low-code approach:

  • Allows rapid development of new systems and services without complex coding
  • Puts power in the hands of the people at the front line of service delivery. These people are best placed to know what needs to be done to improve a service.

Low-code for local government

Liberty Create is Netcall’s low-code solution. It provides a secure low-code development platform for business users and IT developers. This ability to unite the innovators within the council has proved a massive boost. It helps to accelerate public sector digital transformation, unlock siloed data and build better customer/citizen experiences.

Create allows the experts on particular services from the organisation to be part of building process applications, with no specialist coding knowledge. This takes the pressure off overstretched IT teams. Instead, IT provide the governance and control (this isn’t yet another piece of shadow IT) and the developers in the Digital Team can handle the most complicated parts. It’s a team approach. 

Within Create, there’s even a library of pre-configured, quality-controlled ‘building blocks’. These can be downloaded to further increase the speed of project delivery.

Rapid project results 

Already 50% of London councils and 25% of councils elsewhere in the UK are working with Netcall. They see rapid project results and resource savings.

Examples of low-code for local government successes include:

  • The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has developed a range of customer service applications on the Create low-code platform, such as noise and nuisance reporting. The applications ensure end-to-end integration from citizen-facing screens through to office systems which despatch personnel to deal with a reported incident. This also enables data analysis to identify hotspots.
  • Cumbria County Council is transforming customer service by improving resolution turnaround and team productivity. In just six weeks it delivered two new online services on the low-code platform:
    1. Skips and Scaffolds permit application, integrated with GovPay, saves contractors time
    2. Blue Badge application, integrated with Central Badge record and GovPay, processed over 500 badges in the first few weeks.

Are you ready to accelerate your transformation?

You can accelerate public sector digital transformation, in spite of the funding cuts you are living with at your council. Deliver on efficiency savings, maintain and improve service delivery and improve engagement and satisfaction with your citizens. 

Join the revolution of councils that are innovating and improving service delivery and customer/citizen experience. Fast.

Discover more about Liberty Create and the councils that are benefiting from it.

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