2020 07 17 — Weeknotes

2.28 — LOTI turns one amongst other things!

It has been a really good week for progressing the digital strategy this week. It is starting to come together and the tone of the conversations are much more about delivery than theory now, which is positive. I think this is also where we are with the response to the pandemic as well, we have started to wind down some of the functionality of the community hub that was set up to deliver food to the most vulnerable and starting to think about it’s role in the Council in the future.

For me it is really important that we ensure that we resource ourselves for success, a phrase my team is now bored of me saying, I am sure. But in the past it has felt like we haven’t given enough of or the right resources to projects in the Council to deliver. I am really pleased that the Capital Strategy Board approved the funding for the next 3 years. So now lots to do!!!

We updated the Digital Strategy Board this week with the projects that we have going on at the moment, and there are many. There are several legacy systems that we have to replace over the next 18 months or so, so we are slowly working our way through them! We are working with FutureGov to ensure that all the projects have some service design embedded into it. I don’t want us to fall into the trap of ‘just’ upgrading / replacing legacy systems without some service design. Some of these projects have already started so we will be limited in what we are able to achieve but at least we are starting to embed this way of thinking in all our work.

One of the key projects that we are starting to kick off next week is our Digital Customer Experience project, in this we are looking at the Council’s relationship with the community and building on the response that we have had with voluntary sector and others during the pandemic. We will be using this project to think about how we structure our services and ensure we have the right tools for the job. This will mean a range of projects and activities will come out of this to ensure that we are improving the experience for our communities. More on this in future weeknotes.

We are also working with FutureGov/Ameo as part of the overall One Hounslow transformation programme to do an outcomes based review across the organisation to ensure that we are focused on the delivery of the corporate outcomes. This will then really frame the conversations moving forwards into recovery and transformation. The aim is to ensure we join up the various elements that are taking place at the moment with recovery, outcomes reviews and the digital strategy, all based on insight and data.

We took a number of ‘new’ topics for discussion and update to the digital board. Collaboration; Inclusion and Connectivity. The replacement of the legacy systems and the wider transformation work has been the focus for a while and quite right. But these three elements are really important to ensure that we are able to progress across the digital strategy. Not ‘new’ at all as we have been working in the background on them but moving them a bit further along!

Collaboration: Across the council we have a number of tools at our disposal for working, but we are not using them to the maximum. We have Office 365 but not really rolled out the collaboration features — we are looking at undertaking a pilot of Google and Office 365. A thread in the One Hounslow Programme is reducing bureaucracy and there will be a range of things to do from this — from process redesign, automation and changes to forms etc.

Digital Inclusion: It is really important that as we improve our online services that we don’t leave anyone behind and we ensure that we build services to be as inclusive as possible. We had a great meeting in the week of colleagues from across the council who have been working on inclusion in many forms — from young to the elderly and who knew that one of the things that we did during lockdown was an online pottery class!

Connectivity: The third pillar of the strategy is Place and Community and it is really important that we have a well connected borough to promote growth. We are looking at full fibre connectivity; wifi; small cells for mobile phones; 5G and Internet of things and will be having someone working with us on this over the next couple of months.

I had two virtual evening events this week:

Wednesday LOTI turned one and we had an evening celebration. Was really good to see the amount of work done over the past year and hear from everyone on a number of the projects and the experiences. The new website can be found at http://loti.london and take a look at the annual report — https://loti.london/blog/annualreport2020/ At one point it did feel like a bit of a drinking game with the number of toasts we were making to LOTI — I survived though 😊…

Thursday was the SOCITM Virtual Leadership Acadamy Graduation — it was fantastic and emotional to hear the inspirational stories from the attendees and from the graduates, these programmes really do make a difference and it is really good to be part of it. I was also reminded that I went on a SOCITM / Ashridge Business School / Central Government — Future Leadership Programme back in 2005 (ish) — bought back lots of memories and found out that Nadira also attended!! 😊

Tune of the Week — Kate Nash — Foundations (Official Video)

Director of Digital & IT for the London Borough of Hounslow