Stop Collaboration Time

Over the past few weeks there have been many events and a lot of activity going on around LA services and collaboration and it feels like there is so much innovation going on at the moment. In our first couple of years we have been incredibly lucky in finding so many Councils (and other sector users) who are willing to take a chance and work with some innovative software/suppliers. In reality our software isn’t innovative in the Netherlands its been around 15 years and over 33% of LA’s use it but in the UK this counts for nothing when you need reference sites!. If you need to improve your processes and understand the benefits get in touch!

In 2 years we have gone from no users in the UK to 20+ and where I am incredibly lucky is that I have had the opportunity to train (and learn) from each of those customers. This year we have been lucky enough to be shortlisted (top 10) in 2 categories of the Digital Leaders 100 awards we were nominated in both SME and Public Service Innovation categories. There were so many excellent projects up in both categories and it was amazing to even be in the top ten in one (I know some excellent people in Local Gov who never even made the shortlist). Massive congratulations to the winners and huge thanks to those who nominated and voted for us. We are pleased to announce we were 3rd in Digital SME of the year and 4th in Public Sector Innovation. So applying my analysis skills to this of the top 40 in the DL100 we were in there twice. Not bad for a little old SME from Torquay!

LGaaPP Launch

It really has been an amazing couple of years working with and learning from Local Government colleagues. I still consider myself to be one of you even though I am now a dirty supplier! I was so happy to get to launch LGaaPP properly in the South West at Nick Hill’s #dilgsw event last week with lots of former colleagues.

LGaaPP at the moment is a concept born out of many conversations at events with Nick, with customers, LocalGovDigital people, LA’s, LA suppliers and MHCLG and other Gov colleagues. From our software perspective its about sharing processes with other colleagues so we are not all reinventing the wheel every time, we are already doing this in an ad hoc way with customers but really want to formalise this and ramp up the value.

We have also been talking to innovative suppliers in the LA space and they see value in this type of approach to getting better requirements for better solutions and delivering more value for LA’s and customers.

LGaaPP is about service/process design and not orchestration it is about the stuff we should really be doing before we engage any supplier i.e. understand what our customer value is and what we want the software to do.

Sharing our processes and collaborating with colleagues is great but what has become apparent from lots of different perspectives is that there is an opportunity to do more, to deliver more value and really start to change the way we work in Local Government both with other colleagues but with suppliers and Government.

In terms of those next steps we are talking about shared Codesign of exemplar processes. Blue Badges as a process brought this to the fore but we have already seen in our first event that there are plenty more so we are looking at Council Tax Relief also with the #dilgsw cohort.

LGaaPP Alpha Blue Badges Process. This is the first, many more will follow

Blue Badges Process is a great example of why we should be working in a more intelligent way. The DFT and Daniel Fyfield as product owner have been showing us the new way of working in terms of Government and Local Authorities. Daniel is acting in the open and from why I have seen of the YouTube show and tells not only working with LA’s but also listening to their feedback. There is a slack channel for collaboration where the DFT are actively talking with LA’s. If you have not signed up yet please do. The sort of work they are doing with the new service is fantastic with DWP integration, Notify integration (which can save you a fortune on post and SMS costs) and also looking at Verify (or at least a more customer focussed/slick iteration) as part of the future (not initial process). Get onboard on slack, watch the show and tells and get involved in the API beta by getting in touch.

This work is a fantastic demonstrable example of how Government, MHCLG and GDS are looking to engage LA’s and involve them. This is a huge change in approach compared to what I have experienced for the last few years. One thing I can say government does well where LA’s do not is actively engaging and talking to suppliers. I proposed our work in an online forum and credit to Daniel he contacted and discussed what we were doing, what they were and how value can be added. It is rare to get that kind of engagement from Local Government and it shouldn’t be.

So with Blue Badges I have no doubt the DFT side will be excellent they have a great team and they are studying user needs. DFT handle the online form (although you can build your own but why would you with all the effort going into the service design of the DFT version) and the back end of the process i.e. capturing the decision and sending the actual badges. LA’s are responsible for the assessment in between.

We have been working with various LA’s to map their processes and to look at defining what a To Be process could look like with the new service. I am seeing lots of individuals trying to do this in their LA all on their own. Some of the things I am seeing going on is all too common in the LA environment with effectively a choice of the traditional suppliers offering up solutions based on what they can do and not necessarily the best processes based on LA needs as this hasn’t been defined and there is huge amounts of variation in the way LA’s currently deliver the service (over and above the obvious legislative differences between England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland).

We are looking to try to change that traditional approach. We would like to get as many as will contribute of the issuing LA’s (200+) to come together and to look at Codesign of the process and the best way/s of doing it from an LA perspective. The results would be shared with all LA’s and the aim is to save time and money for LA’s and to share the burden of designing a new process. We think this has a huge number of benefits and will be looking to support this work in other areas where there is clearly a need. Benefits include:

  • Shared design process meaning LA’s are not acting alone and all designing a process
  • Less risk by codesigning rather than ploughing a lone path
  • Opportunity to commission software that delivers what you want rather than what your given
  • Opportunity to collaborate to build a solution
  • Supplier benefits in having an exemplar to build a solution around
  • Free expert BA resource and software to help facilitate
  • Opportunity to jointly bid for funding such as GovTech Catalyst?
  • DFT benefits in having LA’s collaborating on a design rather than 200+ individual solutions
  • Potential for suppliers to provide resource to support Codesign workshops and bring technical expertise
  • DFT engagement in workshops?
  • Potential to engage new MHCLG team and GDS in workshops
  • Shared user research opportunities

There is lots of other things that may be possible in collaboration and we are actively undertaking discovery with LA stakeholders at events including Nick Hills network events amongst others. 

We (Nick Hill, Engage Process and us) strongly believe this could be a new way of working and of shaping the supplier market to deliver value. We(LA’s) have all been burned by buying traditional supplier solutions which fundamentally do not deliver our business processes in the way we want them to and customers need them to in order to deliver real digital transformation and benefits. The only way the supplier market will change is if we change our behaviour. I say don’t buy an off the shelf product until you know what it delivers and that what it delivers is what you need. To do this you need to design the service you need join us and lets do that in the most efficient way that delivers the most value.

Learning from OneTeamGov ethos and events what actions can you take?

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