Councils are continually looking to innovate in order to deal with increasing demand and pressure to the services that they run on behalf of local residents. The past few years has seen digital service delivery becoming more and more relevant in increasing resident accessibility to services and delivering efficiencies. In March 2018, the LGA funded five councils to reuse the digital assets and learning from the Kent Home Choice Partnership project.
- Video transcript
Hello, my name is Peter Fleming.
I chair the Local Government Association's Improvement and Innovation Board.
I'm here to introduce the five case studies that form the Digital Housing Programme. It's an opportunity to look at some shared learning.
All five councils are at different points on their journey, but what we're seeing is that significant savings can be made, and a quicker and more accessible service can be offered to our residents.
In March 2018, the LGA funded five councils to reuse the digital assets and learning from the Kent Home Choice Partnership project. This was to support local government respond to the new Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and scale up across other councils the resource and assets developed under a previously successful LGA digital programme.
Through this programme the LGA harnessed the expertise of Smarter Digital Service (SDS), an arm’s length body of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, who developed the Kent Home Choice Partnership. The team at SDS developed and delivered a support programme with the LGA and the digital housing cohort – this included:
- 7 workshops – guiding the cohort through the agile project management process
- Offer of hosted visits to Tunbridge Wells District Council to demonstrate the online forms
- Offer of onsite visits from the LGA and SDS to the councils.
- 1 to 1 support and monitoring phone calls to discuss specific issues, challenges, developments and guidance.
- Group conference calls for the cohort to enable action learning sets on common issues, challenges and progress.
The participating councils have progressed with their projects at various stages of delivery. This case study series explores key points of learning, outcomes, challenges, the realisation of benefits, impact and how the mainstreaming of digital assets has been delivered.
Each project aimed to deliver the following:
- A homelessness triage service – to digitise initial assessments providing eligibility for assistance, to signpost the customer to alternative advice and support available to them.
- An online housing application pre-assessment form – comprising of key questions, to give early indication of acceptance onto the housing register.
- A redesigned online housing application form – a simplified version of the current form that would be ‘intelligent’ pulling the relevant information for the customer’s circumstances and housing need.
Digital Housing Case Studies
- Aylesbury Vale District Council
This project has effectively built upon its well-established digital housing offer through this project. The team have implemented further resource alleviating solutions into the service while at the same time consolidating back office services under a unitarisation programme of 4 local districts with the county council.
- Brighton and Hove City Council
The project team are awaiting delivery of the products from the supplier as migration to the new system and user acceptance testing is completed and verified for the Go-live launch.
- Exeter City Council
This project has enabled a successful channel shift to deliver a flexible service 24/7/365. This delivers a more convenient option to alleviate traffic away from traditional housing options services. The model offers one main consolidated referral route giving customers an efficient and effective way to engage with their local authority.
- Milton Keynes Council
This project has had to pivot products from one back office system to a new overhauled alternative. This refocused approach provided the team with a solid foundation of experience and resource that will now be embedded in the change programme of the housing IT system. The department will now benefit from the work carried out by the team as the housing system innovates over the upcoming year.