Our Digital Strategy sets out the ambition and plans we have for putting technology and information at the forefront of our journey to become a modern, efficient council.
It explains how we will develop and harness new approaches that foster partnership working and excellent customer service, support organisation-wide change and deliver enabling technology services to our workforce. The strategy recognises what digital can do for Rotherham; bringing communities together, strengthening relationships between the Council and its customers and, through improved efficiency and customer intelligence, ensuring more money is focused on front-line services, in the areas that need it most.
Our strategy also highlights the continuing importance of digital in Rotherham – connectivity, online services, access and skills and describes the opportunities along with our approach to ensure everyone who wants to, is afforded the chance to benefit from what digital has to offer.
- we will maximise the use of digital technology and continuously innovate to transform the way we work and improve outcomes and services for residents, business and visitors
- working with our partners and other organisations we will exploit technology to join-up and integrate services and exploit new opportunities to work collaboratively
- we will increase efficiency and improve quality for everyone through the innovative use of new and emerging technologies
- we will strive towards becoming a ‘smart city’ to improve the quality of life and experiences of residents, visitors and business
- we will design our digital services to be accessible, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity or level of skills and involve people in the design and testing of digital services to ensure they meet their expressed needs
Where are we now
We are not starting afresh; we’ve been developing our digital services and capabilities over several years and have already made good and sustainable progress in several areas, through targeted investment.
- replacing our core telephony and contact centre systems, with an integrated ‘cloud-based’ system to provide increased capability, flexibility and added resilience
- we are helping Council and wider public sector workers to gain access to systems from anywhere, through the introduction of the reciprocal GovRoam network
- by modernising our office productivity tools through the roll out of Microsoft 365, refresh of devices and upgrade to Windows 10, we are facilitating staff to work more efficiently and providing new ways to communicate and collaborate
- we have a refreshed, more accessible website, which makes it easier for residents to do business with the council, online
- implemented a new customer experience management system, to provide a single view of customer contact and an online citizens portal for self-service
- we are helping to promote digital inclusion by providing free citizen Wi-Fi in all libraries, customer services centres, the Town Hall and museum
- we have implemented a single Social Care case management system for Adult’s and Children’s social care
- working with health partners we have launched the Rotherham Health Record, providing access for health and care professionals to patient data, supporting better co-ordinated outcomes for residents
- streamlined the process for hospital discharge, helping to free-up hospital bed spaces in a timely manner
- in partnership with other South Yorkshire councils we have delivered Superfast South Yorkshire, increasing broadband speed and availability to more areas of Rotherham
Responding in Challenging Times
Technology has proved essential in our response to the Coronavirus pandemic and in maintaining service delivery and providing support. Imaginative use and rapid adoption of digital capabilities has really illustrated how, at a time of difficulty, we can still improve services and operate effectively.
- over 4,000 staff were enabled to work from home and using Microsoft Teams continued to communicate and collaborate effectively – over a six month period more than 37,000 meetings took place online
- children’s services staff have used video calling and WhatsApp to keep in touch with families and ensure essential support is maintained
- democratic decision making went virtual, supporting Cabinet, Council and other committee meetings to take place, including Overview and Scrutiny
- the taxi driver vehicle licencing process moved from a paper-based and face to face interaction, to website self-service, supported by ‘how to’ videos, taxi drivers submit their license application and arrange an appointment for a council MOT test from the comfort of their home (or vehicle). Over 470 applications have been handled
- numerous government support grants have been administered by the council, to support businesses and sole traders impacted by the pandemic. Our fully online and end-to-end process has facilitated payments in excess of £61m for over 5,000 businesses
We utilised our new telephony capability to set-up:
- the Rotherham Community Hub to provide help and support for vulnerable residents and those required to shield
- local track and trace, to support the national effort. The benefits from this flexibility will continue and serve us well in other times of crisis in the future