Chapter 4

How to ensure successful digital transformation

  • Digital transformation is an ongoing process: Local authorities should view digital transformation as an ongoing and iterative process and be careful not to rely too heavily on standard
    ‘task and finish’ approaches in their strategies.
  • Encourage input from across the council: The development of digital transformation strategies should invite input from across the authority at the outset to ensure work is not duplicated or hidden problems uncovered down the line.
  • Audit internal capability before commissioning external support: When activating digital transformation strategies, audit existing internal skills before commissioning external support. This will increase efficiency, reduce cost and help commissioned developers tailor their offer to the council’s existing capability.
  • Integrate IT skills holistically across the council: IT skills should be integrated holistically as a key element sitting across all council functions, rather than it only viewed as a support service, or annexed in one specific team in the authority.
  • Understand service needs to support effective commissioning: Local authorities that can articulate the needs of their service to developers will be able to commission systems effectively, reducing budget waste on superfluous functions. Councils should look to fit a system to their service not the other way round.
  • Embed a culture of continuous improvement: Finishing installation of an IT system should be seen as the start. Encourage feedback from service users on an ongoing basis to ensure those systems are being monitored, updated, and improved.
  • Reassess post-pandemic recruitment and working patterns: Councils’ digital transformation strategies should assess the opportunities and threats from the shift to hybrid working – not only on recruitment and retention, but also wider impacts such as merging office space or achieving net zero targets from reduced commuting.
  • ‘Online’ is part of but not the whole service: Councils should be careful to assess the impact of placing services online on vulnerable groups and ensure alternative options remain to access services by other means to prevent digital exclusion.

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