Which local authorities can show the digital way?

CDPS’s Landscape Review team considered simplicity, impact and sheer volume in choosing ‘exemplar’ council services

5 August 2022

The DLR looked at local authority services such as social care to weigh up which were best candidates for digital improvement © Pexels

CDPS’s Digital Landscape Review (DLR) has been surveying the state of digital public services in Wales. With the review having come to an end, we’ve been publishing a series of blog posts on the reviews findings. We’ve so far discussed: 

This post looks at another question the DLR addressed: which local authority services would be easiest to transform. 

As this is the last blog post for this stage of the DLR, we’ll also say a bit about what will happen to the team’s findings now we’ve wrapped up. 

The DLR team were set one question to answer: which local authority services should be priorities for support to meet the Digital Service Standards for Wales?  

Services with most impact 

The local authority service landscape in Wales is huge. We began by shortlisting services that:  

We selected 7 services, provided by all 22 Welsh local authorities provide, that best fitted these criteria: 

  1. Housing – for example, ‘Apply for housing repair’ 
  1. Planning – for example, ‘Apply for planning permission’ 
  1. Revenues and benefits – for example, ‘Pay council tax’ 
  1. School enrolment – for example, ‘Enrol my child for secondary school’ 
  1. Social care – for example, ‘Request a social care and health assessment’ 
  1. Street and highway maintenance – for example, ‘Report a pothole’ 
  1. Waste collection – for example, ‘Report a missed bin collection’ 

Simplicity, impact, volume 

However, we also wanted to target services that would be good examples of end-to-end digital improvement for other local authorities providing a similar service. (We call such services ‘exemplars’, in the language of digital delivery.)  

So we cut our shortlist of 7 down by seeing how well they fit further criteria:  

This table shows how the 7 services compare against those 4 exemplar criteria: 

Table showing how the 7 services compare against the 5 exemplar criteria.  Table shows revenues and benefits, and street and highway maintenance are the most feasible for complexity, scalability, quality of life and volume.

Best exemplars: revenues and benefits and street maintenance

Revenues and benefits  

‘Revs and bens’ are relatively straightforward services (in that they involve fewer organisations) that are similar across councils. Councils are also very keen to transform them, which suits CDPS’s partnership model of content design. The DLR showed there are opportunities to:  

The street and highway maintenance service shows what a seamless user journey could look like © Unsplash

Street and highways maintenance 

Another simple service giving an opportunity to show what a seamless user journey – for ‘Report a problem’ – could look like. Compared with revenues and benefits, transformation of this service would be relatively low risk, although it would also have a lower impact on people’s quality of life. 

DLR: uncovering big public service challenges

We started the Digital Landscape Review in September 2021, with the goal of uncovering the most significant challenges in digital public services in Wales.  

The DLR team used the successive Agile design stages of discovery, alpha and beta to structure the review: 

Discovery: the team interviewed a small number of services to design and test our method. 

Alpha: we surveyed a larger sample of services across Wales. That allowed us to measure roughly how much services were meeting the Digital Service Standards

Beta: since January 2022, we’ve engaged with more than 50 organisations providing public services in Wales. From this work, we’ve prioritised a set of practical challenges in digital services, which CDPS and its partners should address. 

Building on findings 

We’ve gathered plenty of information on the challenges of users and service owners alike. We’re using this insight to guide the work of CDPS and our partners. We’ve made our findings available in a wiki (online directory) for other CDPS teams to draw upon as they develop digital services with our partners.  

Some CDPS teams are already building on DLR findings – for example, teams working on user-centred procurement and health and care services. Other projects are now in our portfolio, to be picked up when we’re ready to tackle them. 

Goodbye (for now)! 

The DLR has drawn to a close. We’re very grateful to everyone who’s contributed time, effort and ideas to the review. 

If you’d like to get in touch about our findings, please email us. 

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