Blog 08 September 2020

Digital transformation hard at work during the pandemic

by Netcall


During these adverse times, the support local councils and housing associations have shown local communities has been amazing. We’ve seen digital transformation at its best. And, we say a heartfelt thank you to them all.

But it’s so much more than support. At the recent Gov Share online events, we’ve seen growing ingenuity and a “can-do” approach. Organisations have made digital easier, faster and more useful for residents and businesses. Digital teams everywhere have done an outstanding job!

We have been inspired, so we thought you might be too. In this article, we share some digital transformation examples from the online events. They are proof that positive people triumph in adversity. This spirit of the achievement is so helpful to us all. So, let’s celebrate and be proud of the strength and flexibility of the #localdigital community.

Responding to the need for welfare calls

Cairn Housing Association teams were concerned about their vulnerable residents. They wanted to make sure everyone was safe. So, on the 1st April they decided to call vulnerable residents and continually monitor them throughout. Overnight (yes, within 24 hours) the digital team built a digital workflow process. This supported staff to make these calls and track the needs of residents.


Staff welfare has also been top of mind. Cairn wanted to ensure that both tenants and staff could manage. So they’ve increased digital access. Tenants can now use Facebook Messenger or web chat to ask for support. And staff can flexibly work at home.

Rescue for business and those who are shielding

Croydon Council knew that many of their local city-based businesses depend on commuters. They were hard-hit by the lockdown. The business grants offered by the government were desperately needed.

Croydon had to respond quickly. So in just nine days, the team built and launched a business rates claim solution. This includes a business register and applicants can follow their claim progress right the way through. The office team are able to check and quickly process the grants.


Alongside this, they built a Shielding Case Management solution. This kept the council informed on which vulnerable residents needed support.

Safety first, supporting volunteers, managing PPE and Test and Trace

Cumbria County Council knew volunteer co-ordination and PPE management were critical. So, working with users and Liberty Create they rapidly provided useful solutions.

After hearing about their success, the NHS in Cumbria approached them to build a Test and Trace solution. This supported local multi-agency partnerships and especially schools.


The app has helped teams co-ordinate the delivery of 526,000 items of PPE to more than 50 care homes in a timely and effective manner, ensuring there is a central record of requests and how these have been fulfilled, replacing manual spreadsheets and emails.

– Kate Hurr, Digital and Innovation Manager at Cumbria County Council

Their Director of Public Health Colin Cox (@CumbriaDPH) tweeted “I could not be more proud of my team right now, nor more grateful to others who’ve made it possible”

Matching volunteers

With their deep experience in social prescribing, Adur & Worthing Councils rapidly created a solution to match volunteers with those in need. For further information read the article on the COVID-19 volunteer co-ordination app.

Sharing, ongoing learning and rapid deployment

The best part of these Local Gov Camp sessions is the open sharing to help digital transformation. Peers want to share lessons learned and best practice. There are 11 COVID apps available on our AppShare and these are ready for councils to use. They have been built by our customers and our team at Netcall and each one has been quality checked.

At Netcall, we love sharing too. South Hams and West Devon Councils (SHWD) was able to fast track their low-code adoption by using these COVID-19 apps. With just a week to develop and deploy a new Business Rates Relief solution, SHWD downloaded the Business Rates Relief app designed by Croydon and adapted to its own needs. And in a return, Croydon has downloaded the Test and Trace built by Cumbria and are working with their stakeholders to see how best to deploy it within their town.

This gave us a fantastic start, we were then able to build on Croydon’s app, and with a little technical help from Netcall we were able to deploy a live process that suited our requirements in less than a week from taking delivery of the Liberty Create platform. The new app also saved the SHWD Case Management team time by automating as much of the business logic as possible, enabling us to make urgently needed payments. AppShare is a great concept and we are looking forward to sharing our own processes with other councils in the near future.

– Mike Ward, Head of IT Practice at SHWD

Our investment is here to stay

Netcall is invested in making it easier for councils to deliver faster, more cost-effective services. Even if you are not yet a Create user you are able to access these apps with a special COVID-19 package. It is based on council size, and starts at £600 per month to meet cloud hosting charges.

And then there’s… “Ask the expert” advice when you need it

Our Community is delivering tangible results, helping organisations with their digital transformation. We have nearly 1,000 active members and a busy Forum where our experts and local council peers share answers. Local government has its own sharing space too. We run bi-weekly “Ask the expert” sessions as well, which are open to any user to ask for help.

It’s great that Netcall has seen this opportunity, they could have been nickel-and-diming us for all this… but they have chosen not to, and I think that’s terrific.

– Dave Briggs, Head of Digital Operations at Croydon Council

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