To provide an update, in the form of a presentation, on the progress of the Council’s Digital Work Programme (report of the Portfolio Holder Governance and Customer and the Executive Director Strategy and Governance enclosed).
With the agreement of the Chairman, this item was moved forward on the agenda for consideration.
Officers provided members with a presentation which provided an update on the Digital Work Programme, which would affect all sections of the Council. It covered the following areas:
SHDC’s digital ambition; Digital recruitment; Environmental Services - Digital ambition, including Programme Status; Tenants’ Online Handbook and Tenants’ Portal, including Programme Status; GIS Mapping; Scan stations and payments machines; Details on customer contact; SHDC Digital Pipeline Status; and Information on Customer Contact – Analog v Digital.
Members considered the information provided within the presentation, and the following issues arose:
Digital ambition/Digital recruitment
· Members understood that implementation was not as far advanced as it should be and asked for an explanation.
o Officers responded that the digital programme had experienced some delays due to recruitment challenges, but with a digital team and dedicated programme management now in place, the programme was fully under way. Given the challenges appointing to posts within the digital team, the authority was looking at ways to improve the way in which recruitment was undertaken, with the assistance of the Human Resources and Communications departments, and this was now beginning to bear fruit.
· Members noted the response, and requested that any recruitment issues be reported back to the Panel.
· With regard to SHDC’s web platform, members asked how the current status compared to market leaders.
o Officers advised that the GOSS platform was used, and that this was an industry standard used by many other councils. The authority worked with them a great deal, and it was trying to streamline processes alongside GOSS.
· Members commented that it was clear that, moving forward, more customer contact with the authority would be undertaken through digital means. However, there was still a need to retain current systems to provide a means of contact for those that chose not to interact digitally, or who had poor Wi-Fi connectivity.
o Officers confirmed that new technology would run alongside existing, more traditional contact channels such as phone and face-to-face enquiries.
· Members asked how savings could be quantified?
o Officers advised that in the first two months, 1200 jobs were dealt with via tablets, and as more data became available, so the opportunity to quantify savings would increase.
· Members questioned whether savings could be achieved if digital improvements making it easier for the customer to make contact with the council increased demand – would savings due to internal efficiency be lost by customer contact in other ways? This question would need answering at a later date, when more data was available.
· Members asked what the effect on productivity would be?
o Officers commented that early intervention could prevent some issues becoming bigger problems. Productivity could be considered in the future, when the system had been in operation for longer.
Progress to date
· Members commented that it would be useful to have a more detailed report with regard to progress, to show whether projects were on track or not. ... view the full minutes text for item 45