Digital Landscape Review – an insight into recent discussions

3 December 2021

Since our last update on the Digital Landscape Review, the team has done a tremendous amount of work with organisations who provide public services across Wales. We have talked to nearly one hundred different organisations, and to teams responsible for delivering over five hundred services. 

The aim of the digital landscape review is to develop a better understanding of services being provided across the country, in order to better set priorities, to identify where we can join up teams and services, and assign investment for improving them. 

In the last couple of weeks, we have started to crunch the data and pick out initial insights from our conversations. We shared a preview of this in our last show and tell, and we plan to share more between now and Christmas. 

Our stand-out finding is that around fifty percent of the teams we have spoken to are aware of, and actively using the Digital Service Standards for Wales. The CDPS are working with several organisations like Neath Port Talbot Council, Sport Wales and the Welsh Revenue Authority to help them adopt and embed the digital service standards, and we are currently recruiting a Head of Standards so we can do more.  

The user experience 

The organisations we spoke to want to understand more about the experiences of those who are using their services. How this is currently done varies from organisation to organisation. 

Around a quarter of those we spoke to, said that they had a user researcher in the team before services went live. This fell to 14% once the service was in delivery. Observational user research (where teams watch real users as they try out their service), was rare and usually done in the pre-launch phase. 

Customer surveys were common, but again, not used regularly once the service was live. 

Digital inclusion and accessibility 

We heard about the different levels of digital skills in the community. We heard that organisations want to ensure that the services they design and build are accessible to all, making sure that digital doesn’t leave anybody behind. 

This could include making services bilingual from the outset, considering how those with an illness, impairment or disability use a service, or thinking about how some users might struggle to get online in the first place. 

For example, we talked to one organisation, supporting job seekers to access the internet. They also provided digital devices on a loan scheme as part of this service. They found that some parts of the community, even those with the necessary skills and equipment, did not always want to move online. Understanding why and helping them overcome their reservations became part of their service.  

The impact of COVID-19 

The changing patterns of work due to the pandemic has affected all the teams we spoke to. Switching their staff to remote working and changing their operating model, a process that would normally have taken months if not years to plan and implement has happened in a short space of time.

Many organisations talked about the decisions they were faced with when trying to work out what happens next. Many expect that they will continue as a hybrid operation, with increased remote working blended with a partial return to the office.

Others spoke of the challenges of replacing face-to-face contact with phone or video calls. 

Positively, we heard that nearly all services served both Welsh and English speakers and the importance of doing so was a strong theme. There is more work to be done here, and the shortcomings in some of the actual implementations were acknowledged. This is another area where we at the CDPS are already actively working to support through our Building Bilingual Services Community of Practice.

What next

Our next show and tell is on Tuesday 7 December. You can view this and previous recordings on the CDPS YouTube channel.

As always, if you or your organisation would like to get involved, you can contact us on digitallandscapereview@digitalpublicservices.gov.wales 

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