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STOCKPORT COUNCIL

STOCKPORT COUNCIL

Forward-thinking UK local authority transforms the way it provides vital services to residents with an award-winning digital platform.

Stockport Council’s Digital by Design programme is an investment in digital technologies and business transformation to enable many council services to be delivered online, support budget reductions, deliver better outcomes for citizens and build internal capabilities to meet the future needs of the authority.

Recognizing the need for people to access council services flexibly, and around the clock, Stockport embarked on an 18-month partnership with ThoughtWorks to develop an entirely new single-view website and portal stockport.gov.uk.

The new site is designed to provide online self-service tools for the people of Stockport to use. Whether the need is to access information about benefits, report a faulty street light or schedule or cancel an appointment, residents of Stockport now have the ability to do so online. 

Digital by Design set out to support the reduced in-house teams and gradually shift public reliance on face-to-face contact, making online the preferred method of getting in touch. Since its launch in February 2017, approximately 60% of contact has been through digital means, with circa 2,000 ‘My Accounts’ created monthly over the past eight months.

In addition, over 3,000 faulty street lights and blocked grids were reported via stockport.co.uk in the period July - Sept, saving almost 200 staff days. Improved online interaction has also reduced home-visit waiting times for vulnerable customers from 10 to 2 weeks, and brought waiting times for office appointments down from 2 weeks to 1.

Stockport.gov.uk was created with a new infrastructure and hosting to bring stability and resilience to the website. Designed for mobile devices, tablets, and desktop computers, the new site also includes far-reaching improvements to the search facility and is integrated with case management, scripting, and other workflow improvements. Finally, in order to minimize costs and increase flexibility, a cloud-based hosting solution was chosen and operational capability embedded within the team to maintain and support the site.

“We knew from the outset that we wanted to take a different approach to digital transformation, focusing on what our residents really need, and on our in-house culture and agile delivery at pace. ThoughtWorks helped us design our own ways of working, and supported us with technology choices and architecture design that would stand the test of time. The outlook for UK public services in the next few years is volatile. Digital by Design gives the Council the means to adapt and evolve, whatever circumstances we face.”
— Cllr David Sedgwick, Cabinet Member for Reform and Governance

ThoughtWorks partnered with Stockport Council to adopt agile delivery approaches across multiple teams. Each new digital tool and service has been released in minimum viable form to test the user experience - ensuring they are fit for purpose, that citizens see significant and continuous improvements, and that value is delivered early and continually post-launch.

This new way of working has removed the barriers between departments and teams. It also means Stockport is delivering better services, faster, and improving relationships with citizens.

Signposts - a new approach to data visualization for child safeguarding

Stockport Council and ThoughtWorks also worked to support and improve internal services such as Child Safeguarding. A new initiative Signposts was introduced to build a communicative bridge between social workers and the wide variety of agencies working locally in child protection, for example schools and Greater Manchester Police. Via Signposts, social workers working in child protection now have a single view to access background information about young people and families in a safe and secure way. By building this end-to-end journey, more relevant data held by police and other agencies is accessible to support decision making. The simple visual interface allows professionals to spot patterns and quickly get a feel for issues and risks that are faced by a child or family.