Digital Landscape Review update 2 – beginning to zoom-in to the details
In our last blog post, we laid out the map that would take us from the start to the end of the discovery phase of the digital landscape review.
Today we’re going to talk through what we’ve achieved in the last fortnight as we’ve begun to zoom-in to some of the details, going through the areas in which we are working one-by-one.
1. Reviewing the organisations, leaders, and government priorities
We’ve split up the digital landscape into logical areas so that our research can deliver a comprehensive picture of the strengths and weaknesses across Wales.
As we’re considering the needs of those who run the services, our division of the landscape has been in line with the areas covered by our key digital decision makers e.g. Health, Local Government, Audit Wales, and the Welsh Government.
For each of the key areas we’ve identified we’ve explored:
- the key organisations involved in service delivery
- the people we’d most like to speak to
- published statistics to contextualise the scale of work done in these areas
- government priorities – typically expressed in digital strategies and/or annual budgets
This has allowed us to get an initial picture of how much investment is being made and how many people are being affected.
We are, of course, coming across key services delivered by each area, and each new service we discover we record in our database with as much information as we can find.
Following this categorisation, we have constructed a dashboard which allows a visual comparison of the number of services across each area. So far, we’ve recorded 147 services – a number we expect to grow considerably as we learn more.
2. Beginning to understand the information and data service leaders and decision makers need to know about services in order to guide their work
Over the last two weeks, we have spoken to key digital leaders across central and local government, health, and in the procurement and audit spaces – hearing about the importance of bin/ waste collection, the methodologies Audit Wales employs, and the experiences of IT/Digital Officers within Local Authorities. We’ve been able to ask decision makers what information they would like to know about their services; and which services they would like us to look at.
Key things we have learned so far include:
- In health, although there are patient- and citizen-facing services, a key area to look at is NHS clinical-facing services.
- Services owned at a national scale are sometimes delivered at a local authority/ health board level, resulting in variation in services between places.
- Collaboration is already happening between local authorities. We were particularly interested to learn about the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) and the Wales-wide library management system
- There are some exciting paper-to-digital service transformations happening in the health space (check out how nursing records are going digital!).
Above all, all stakeholders expressed a desire to work with us and the ambition to improve the quality and value of digital public services.
4. Researching what is already known about services
In common with much of the public services, a good deal of information about digital services is already collected, and some of it (for example, that provided to Audit Wales) is already in the public domain.
We are keen to reuse this information wherever possible and relevant: not only to reduce the workload on service owners, but also to understand what information is already being collected.
Through our collaboration with digital decision makers, we have identified previously compiled lists of services relating to specific areas or organisations. For example, we were able to view the set of 55 services offered by the Welsh Revenue Authority, which allowed us to understand the range of digital services already available to users. In addition, by reviewing the Welsh Local Government Association’s updates on digital developments we identified examples of digital services at the local government level.
From analysis of existing procurement data, we’ve learnt that many local authorities contract the same external providers to deliver the same services, however these relationships are managed under different contracts. Being able to identify and rectify this sort of duplication is one of the many opportunities created by the landscape review.
We will continue collaborating with digital decision makers in order to further develop our understanding of research that has already been carried out in this space.
Where we’re headed next
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that there was no “3” in the list above: the third area we are working on is “To begin to understand what data service owners are able to share about their service”.
This is the next key part of our discovery. When we understand the data service owners have, we will be able to map that against the needs we have already collected from the decision makers – the size of the gap between the two will help us decide where to go from there!