Blog 08 December 2020

How low-code can help councils work together

by Simon Pike

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Group of people reviewing Now Tech: General-Purpose Low-Code Development Platforms

In a world of tech options, the choices are endless. And for every choice there is an opinion. As a vendor, we are aware that local government is often promised ‘silver bullet’ solutions. But do they really exist? And how has COVID-19 affected progress within the public sector?

COVID-19 may have disrupted transformation, but it hasn’t halted it altogether. Instead, in many ways, both staff working from home and social distancing have accelerated the need for a nimble, low-cost response to transformation.

Digital teams tell us that agility is essential to achieve customer service. Especially with a reduced set of resources. It is a cost-effective approach and provides the flexibility needed to handle future changes.

During a series of Local Gov Camp digital events, held in 2020, peers heard how colleagues are pushing forward with their transformation agenda. It was a privilege to hear how teams had committed time, energy and so much effort to build solutions that deliver outcomes that matter – to so many people.

Everyone had a story. No council or housing association escaped the pressures of COVID-19. And, all had additional responsibilities to cope with. Things such as managing shielding, doing welfare checks, providing business grants, volunteer matching, PPE distribution or Track and Trace.

With so many organisations dealing with similar problems, it was great to see so many sharing resoures. We saw a growing trend to share low-code apps via our AppShare. But why this is so attractive to councils?

Simon Pike, Market Solutions Specialist at Netcall, confirms: “We are thrilled to see our low-code for councils vision coming to life. Liberty Create low-code is supporting our customers to flexibly adapt to the ongoing challenges.”


Low-code for local government


Off-the-shelf software doesn’t fit everyone’s processes. And waiting for vendor updates means people turn to work arounds which causes inefficiencies. In the past, the alternative was custom development, which takes time and can waste resource.

Now, there is no need for councils to build or buy common processes over and over again. Instead, users can download any working app from the AppShare and flexibly tailor them meet their exact needs. And the control stays within your teams. They can make future updates to match with changing user and community needs.

There are no silver bullets, and we know low-code is not the only solution out there. But, for our purposes, and context, with a very small team, with limited budget the ability to share apps with other people, the ability to learn from others in the community, it (low-code) is invaluable for us.

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


Learn and share from others


Our community is delivering tangible low-code for local government results. We have over 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 and we run bi-weekly “Ask the expert” sessions which are open to any user to ask for help.

Our AppShare includes 11 COVID apps, all ready for other councils to use. South Hams District Council was able to fast track their Liberty Create adoption and roll-out by using these COVID apps. With just a week to develop and deploy a new Business Rates Relief solution, South Hams downloaded the Business Rates Relief app designed by Croydon and adapted this to its own requirements.

AppShare is a great concept and we are looking forward to sharing our own processes with other council’s in the near future.

– Mike Ward, Head of IT Practice at South Hams District Council

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