Blog 19 July 2021

Digital Declaration: Undercover heroes, the stuff of legends

by Netcall


A quiet movement is sweeping across local government. It’s called #localdigital.

Just three years ago, public servants said “It is time!” Time to ensure that citizens got the best value from transformation. They created the Digital Declaration and it started with 50 signatories. Since then, 250 forward-thinking local authorities committed themselves to change, collaboration and sharing. While they continue to deliver better value for money for their councils and citizens, their goals include:

  • designing services that best meet the needs of their citizens
  • challenging the tech market to offer them the flexible tools and services that they need
  • protecting citizens’ privacy and security

The stuff of legends

We’re bursting with pride at the achievement of our customer councils. Recently, Dave Briggs, Head of Digital Operations at Croydon Council, hosted a session called Legends of Low-code. This showcased the amazing achievements of Croydon Council, Cumbria County Council, Hertsmere Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council. The panellists shared knowledge, tips, things to consider and how they are upskilling their teams. Everyone is dedicated to delivering better services for less.

The dream of independence and control

Change is for everyone, including us. We respect and value councils that deliver services using our solutions. The best way for us to support councils with their digital declaration commitment, is to put them in control of digital, enabling them to build what they need, when they need it.

Our vision is for each council to manage its own transformation destiny. We know that staff need to be upskilled to meet skilled staff shortages. We promote collaborating and sharing, so that no-one has to reinvent (or pay again!) for something that another council has built.

Walking the talk with a new legacy

Our Citizen Hub, AppShare and Community was born to deliver on this goal. The Community is our gateway to knowledge sharing, offering both formal training and free, detailed e-learning. Plus, there are interactive weekly skills or customer showcase sessions, and so much more.

Saving time, Community help at hand

It’s an AppShare, not an AppStore. Everything in the AppShare is included free for platform users. And the Forum helps builders to quickly find answers to their project questions. Netcall subject matter experts and council peers hop on to offer their thoughts and suggestions..

Growing participation

At the time of writing, our Community has more than 1,250 members and our AppShare houses over 175 shareable items, the download total of which is over 2,250 times. 

Each time we download a widget or shareable item, we save time. It may be only half a day but in a big project it all adds up. It also makes building easier. Builders can focus on the project and not get side-tracked on a tech widget. Everyone wins.

Tech that makes savings

Using ‘What 3 Words’ within our Highways reporting system is massively improving team efficiency. Before, the team would go out to fix a pothole or a broken street lamp and couldn’t find it. Using What 3 Words alongside other location options within the report means we’re no longer getting missed reports.

Craig Barker – a legend from Cumbria County Council

We’ve transformed our bulky waste service from a loss to a profit, and we’ve also massively reduced what’s going to landfill as the contractor reduces or recycles up to 70% of what is collected. Booking lead times have reduced dramatically, customers are kept updated about the status of their collection and our advisors can now access live data – massively improving the customer experience. This platform approach has been amazing for us.

Clare Evans – a legend from Tewkesbury Borough Council

We’ve been able to innovate our waste processes, and include other staff in making extra efficiencies. Such as, streamlining identifying abandoned vehicles. Our parking enforcement officers will do data collection on their rounds. They will identify and then upload a photo of an abandoned vehicle. Time to resolve will reduce.

Lee Gallagher – a legend from Hertsmere Borough Council

The COVID19 response

During COVID, as teams rapidly built applications to support their communities, they uploaded them to the AppShare. Volunteer matching, Who’s on (who is able to work and who is away), PPE Distribution and Local Grants are some of the apps available to any local authority. This has helped to ease the burden of the pandemic. To make use of any of these apps, visit the Community for downloads and support.

App in a Week. Yes, one week!

In the spirit of #localdigital, we launched App-in-a-week. This practical collaboration helps councils to deliver the digital process they need. In February, Ashfield District Council, Harborough District Council and Croydon Council joined a Netcall Community build. Together, on daily scrums, they collaborated on an Environmental Health Inspections module. It was built in one week.

The digital inspection process removes lengthy paper forms, automates appointment scheduling and provides updates and alerts to all stakeholders. This improves productivity and helps officers at any council to keep food preparation safe in schools, care homes and hospitality venues. It’s available on AppShare now.

Continuing improvement together

The Digital Declaration has changed the approach to transformation for many. Only three years on, there is so much to celebrate. Kudos to all involved, and especially to our legends mentioned in this article. Thank you all for your hard work and focus.


We’re walking our talk. If you need help, or want to join in, please visit our Community

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