Scotland is doing some great things
We have been discussing collaboration on processes for over a year now with our customers, innovative SME’s, LocalGovCamp people and with Nick Hill of Public Sector Digital Transformation Network the more conversations I am having the more I believe this approach really adds value for LG.
We have been talking and working with LA’s in England, Wales and Scotland recently about Blue Badges and designing new processes for when the government system changes around(it’s new software after all!) December 2018. Having worked with many LA’s all struggling with the same problems it has really galvanised us into action. I see Blue Badges very similarly to GDPR in that everyone has to do something and really there is very little difference (none for GDPR) in what each LA does or needs to do. In each LA there is a small number of people trying to work out what good looks like and design/build/procure a system for that. I feel sorry for the LA officers doing this alone in the same way I did for individual DPO’s trying to get LA’s ready for GDPR. There really must be a better way?
This brings me to Scotland and some very timely stories in the press. I am hugely impressed with the work of the Digital Office and the Improvement Service in Scotland not only the ethos in setting these organisations up but in the real tangible benefits being seen by LA’s in Scotland. There are so many best practice sharing events going on in Scotland related to these 2 organisations and LA’s that are really helping deliver digital and improvement change.
One of these collaborative partnerships has been in the news this week and the benefits are being discussed. The Scottish GDPR partnership with the Digital Office has just talked about the benefits of their collaborative approach to GDPR preparation the full article can be accessed here. It really shows a practical collaboration project in action and the benefits it has provided. It made me wonder why there are not similar schemes in other parts of the UK. Key extract below:
Scottish local authorities have avoided costs of more than £1million in preparation for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), as a result of collaborative working within the Local Government Digital Partnership.
The Digital Office for Scottish Local Government designed the GDPR Readiness Project back in March 2017. The project aimed to help councils interpret the new GDPR regulations coming into force on 25 May 2018, which mean organisations face stricter guidelines on how they collect, store, record and share personal data.
The outputs of the project, led by Glasgow City Council and Fife Council on behalf of the Digital Office, contained a joined-up action plan, standards and guidance which were shared amongst 30 of the 32 Scottish local authorities in the Digital Partnership.
By sharing the toolkit and providing guidance on preparing, planning and interpreting the imminent legislation, the delivery board of the Digital Partnership estimated the combined cost avoidance to be in excess of £1million across the 30 Scottish local authorities.
Blue Badge – the first LGaaPP project?
So this brings us to Blue Badges. So why Blue Badges? We are actively talking to LA’s around the country about Blue Badges. Having mapped the process a number of times I can honestly say it is far more clunky and complex than I expected and also than it needs to be in this day and age. It is the typical story of existing legacy systems working the way they can not the way customers need or we would want from a modern digital service. Blue Badges shares a similar but less high profile characteristic with GDPR the fact there is a deadline (December 2018) and a need/opportunity to change the way we work in LA’s. The current government system BBIS provided by Northgate is being changed to a new system created by Valtech Uk. This will not provide a system for LA’s to assess applications they will need to design/build/procure their own system.
This now creates a ‘burning platform’ a lever for change and a real opportunity to follow the success of the collaborative approach to GDPR in Scotland and to adopt a similar approach to Blue Badge service design.
So lets do this together and follow the GDPR approach
Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer for Scottish Local Government, said: “The results of this project were a true reflection of what could be achieved fairly quickly through the collaboration of councils in the Partnership rather than each of them having to try an interpret and implement the new legislation single handily. With the current tough climate, all the councils involved help share the workload but also all the benefits too. Personally, I’d like to thank Glasgow and Fife teams leading on this on behalf of the Partnership as their outputs have been invaluable in helping us deploy GDPR as an enabler for safer data sharing as per the new legislation rather than a disabler to transforming our services.”
May the fourth be with you
May the fourth will go down as the date that lots of ideas came together as the date that LGaaPP.com and LGPP.online (neither website is running yet….) were born. We were holding a To Be workshop with a customer for their Blue Badge process. We were discussing the process and ideas for improvement and we started discussing collaboration on the process instead of trying to do it at a local level. Before the workshop I had been speaking to Steven Watt of Perth and Kinross Council discussing ways to collaborate on processes using our software following some best practice from Scotland and we talked about Blue Badges and you will be surprised to hear that they already are looking at a collaboration to address this but why can’t that collaboration be wider?
There are loads of ideas for improvement coming out of our workshop but the key question is always about what can we do but also comply with the legislation. It really struck me how unfair it was to the individual officers to try to decide what the ideal service looks like. We talked about collaborating and trying to get a collaboration together to design that ideal process. Out of that workshop we agreed to try to get a collaboration together to work on this problem. Following the workshop the knowledge hub group was highlighted which prompted us to post this to try to get a coalition together around Blue Badges please join up.
What is LGaaPP?
GaaP was a concept initiated by GDS.
Government as a Platform is a new way of building digital services. We’re creating a set of shared components, service designs, platforms, data and hosting, that every government service can use.
This frees up teams to spend their time designing user-centric services rather than starting from scratch, so services become easier to create and cheaper to run.
Have a look at the blogs here for information on what has been achieved by GaaP approach by Central Government 3 years on and 200 services later.
LGaaP is born out of the GDS work on Gaap. LGaaP as a concept has been around for a number of years now in the Local Government arena with thought leaders such as Gavin Beckett blogging about it and more recently refining that thinking this approach is very much solution focussed and talking about what would be necessary functionality to deliver this concept. There are a number of shared resources here following a number of approaches to LGaaP.
LGaaPP is different
Local Government as a Process Platform
With LGaaPP we are different we are looking at the part of your projects before you contemplate procuring solutions. Local Government is vastly different to Central Government. 400+ LA’s are all doing hundreds of different common services in uniquely different ways. Depending on whether you are a Unitary, County or District Council you are performing a subset of these processes in your own ways.
We want to get a community of LA experts together to design excellent digitals services. We want to make that information available free to all LA’s. We want to build a community that shares learning and knowledge and that supports peers to deliver better digital services. We want to involve suppliers and shape the market for digital services. We want to work together and save money. We want a platform where Digital Leaders can share their thoughts. We want to adopt the wheel not reinvent it.
Lets get together share knowledge and design excellent services.
Lets share those designs so we don’t need to reinvent the wheel 400 times
Lets drive the market to deliver solutions the customers and our organisations want
Lets collaborate and share learning/knowledge
Lets drive change forward
Lets innovate and put LA services in the Digital fast lane
Lets make better digital services
Legacy systems are part of the problem – unless they get with the programme
Legacy is the enemy in terms of Local Government services. There are many ‘digital’ services delivered on legacy platforms that focus on what we can do versus what the customer needs and what we want. Lots of discrete services with different designs requiring customers to have many log ins and an inconsistent experience. These ‘digital’ services do a massive disservice to digital transformation in Local Authorities. Why do Local Government services have to be so bad compared to the digital services we use in our private life? Sometimes it feels like going back in time when you look at the current provision of LA services in the Digital world. Unless the way these services are delivered changes they are very much part of the problem. The only people who are responsible for these digital services are those that continue to procure them.
Agile and Iterative is the only way
With extensive experience of process improvement with many Local Authorities and Digital transformation we believe this is essential. Waterfall does not fit modern services it fits legacy systems and approach. No matter how good an analyst is or how good your programme is you cannot design perfection straight away. ‘True North’ in lean terms is perfection this is not possible to design especially given the pace of change in the digital space and the new ways of working that can be delivered with emerging technology.
Each iteration of your process exposes more waste and more opportunities to improve. To be fit for purpose and to deliver great services and savings you must be set up to be Agile and Iterative. Process improvement is not a one off and should be continuous. Systems/service design is also not a one off its a continuous process of improvement leveraging new technology to deliver better services. Becoming agile is a culture change that is not to be underestimated.
Agile and iterative is not a project issue it as an entire supply chain issue:
- How agile and iterative are your people?
- How agile and iterative are your projects?
- How agile and iterative are your systems?
- How agile and iterative are your suppliers?
- How agile and iterative are your digital supply chains?
- How agile and iterative are your leaders?
Digital Offset Effect
So I think we need to start looking at how we design the optimum processes to deliver the Digital Offset effect. Lets start by getting a picture of what we think good looks like today and lets iterate with new innovations continuously.
Process Improvement Effect (LGaaPP)
I think there are massive benefits to this approach. We can start to share the load of designing excellent services. We can share user research. We can create an ideal benchmark for a process and take it back to our organisations and move our processes towards it. We will also learn as we go along by hearing about new innovations and ways of working from our peers and SME innovators.
- We can save x per transaction
- We can learn from others
- We can meet and talk to them
- We can share best practice
- We can share experience
- We can share knowledge
- We can share the load
- We can shape the market
- We can identify where legacy systems really are holding us back
- We can buy great solutions
- We can innovate effectively and learn
- We can search for ‘True North’ together
- We can innovate
- We can deliver excellent digital services
Fundamentally its about delivering value
We want to deliver value both to the customers and to the organisations. We want to drive waste from the systems and we want to provide a service that helps the whole digital supply chain in Local Government. We think we should be involving the wider SME population in the project to help support innovative new solutions in the marketplace to help LA delivery but the mechanism for this will need to be agreed with the early adopters.
So how do I get involved?
We are going to start with a Beta phase for Blue Badges. We want people to be involved so we are looking for anyone who can and will contribute. If you are interested sign up in the knowledge hub discussion or email email@example.com all ideas and contributors welcome. I am thinking a series of regional design events followed by one meeting to bring it all together.
Please can anyone who is interested in this project and being involved in its shaping and delivery please get in contact we need a broad spectrum of opinion to help shape and improve this service (remember this is a beta and we will continuously iterate and improve based on user needs/value). Localgovcamp people and Nick Hill I am definitely speaking about you!
We will be providing the platform for sharing LGPP.online and the group website LGaaPP.com (both still to be constructed) the aim being for the forum to provide thought leader pieces of innovation blogs and to be the sign up process.
What we bring?
As part of the beta we will also look to get our customers to start to share To Be processes to seed the idea and for people to review and share the benefits. We will create the environment for sharing and collaboration on processes and the websites. We have the software to enable this so lets make it happen.
We are also committed to providing business analysis skills and tools to workshops to help capture the processes.
- Outputs will be freely available to all LA’s who sign up and contribute something (no matter how big or small, this could be a blog, event attendance or maybe just things in the forums)
- Maybe we could even look at some hack days where we not only create a process but build it?
- We will continually iterate and processes will be open and comments will be possible on the maps to allow for the idea generation for the next iteration
- We will involve partners who bring value and contributions to the group
- We will look to connect LA’s to help each other
- We will iterate the principles based on user needs