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Place-shaping: success stories of digital

Focusing on the things that really matter locally, adapting to new, virtual ways of working, engaging communities, adopting a risk and trust-based approach to simplifying processes, enabling residents and businesses to access the services they need, improving productivity in adversity, sharing solutions … these and more can be found in our place-shaping stories of digital.

Online planning committee

Waltham Forest London Borough

Waltham Forest London Borough’s experience running a planning committee meeting on a virtual basis in an effort to deal with the social distancing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. Four councillors were physically present, accompanied by around 60 people taking part using Microsoft Teams video conferencing, combined with Logitech hardware, a terminal access point for connectivity, a Rally camera for ultra HD imaging and a single Rally speaker and microphone pod for the audio element. The meeting dealt with a major house building plan that the council did not want to delay under the current restrictions.

Council response to COVID-19

Guildford Borough Council

Infographic setting out the achievements of Guildford Borough Council staff and partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simplify, standardise and share: services for people requesting support

Buckinghamshire and Camden Councils

Buckinghamshire and Camden Councils, working with consultancy FutureGov, have developed new online services for people requesting support during the COVID-19 pandemic. An impressive example of local authorities using what they already have – in this case code for finding support in adult social care – to quickly build something new then making it available for others to re-use, the prototype for the services is now available on GitHub. It shows the importance of an open approach by public authorities to their digital efforts, and how the principles advocated by public sector IT association Socitm – Simplify, standardise, share – can be a great asset in responding to a crisis.

Virtual council meeting

Métropole de Lyon

Virtual meeting of the council of Métropole de Lyon with the President, the Chief of Staff, the Director General of Services, the Presiding Secretary and group chairs presiding. They were connected with 120 connected elected officials taking part, who were all able to vote electronically. Eight deliberations took place, including the emergency aid plan during five hours of debate.

Municipality response to COVID-19

Prato City Council, Italy

Presentation covering the achievements, issues addressed and lessons learnt at Prato City Council, Italy, including: a dedicated Coronavirus information resource on the city website: https://www.comune.prato.it/coronavirus/; remote working for 600 of the city’s 1,000 employees (95% activated in 2 weeks); selection of an effective commercial tool for videoconferencing for use by politicians and employees; use of free tools for videoconferencing by employees; online and hot-line telephone service for food-coupons (only 5 days set-up); distribution of protective masks to residents; and training sessions for remote workers.

Digital response by voluntary organisations to the COVID-19 pandemic

Surrey Heath, Hart, Marlow, Spelthorne and Runnymede Borough and Town Councils

The original request for the ‘Is Prepared’ service came from a group of voluntary organisations in the Surrey Heath area. The solution is now in use by a group of neighbouring borough and town councils. It reflects a positive trend of councils and local groups doing their best to work together, and the ability of private sector developers – to provide a rapid response. The solution includes forms for requests and offers of support, with the details going directly into databases that are broken down into wards within a council’s area, and volunteers assigned a unique ID. A coordinator for the ward can then liaise with voluntary groups and individuals in ensuring the request is met. Part of the process is to establish which tasks require a Disclosure and Barring Service check on the volunteer.

Report on municipality response to COVID-19

Tel Aviv-Yafo

This report covers the response of the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel, including: the Municipality’s operations during emergencies; management and intraorganizational work during the crisis; technology and innovation in the service of residents; contact with residents; education services; social services; community activities for residents; relief for business owners; animal care; seizing opportunities: some advantages arising from the crisis; national solidarity: mutual support and knowledge-sharing among local authorities; strengthened international relations; and the day after: implications for the future of the city.

Maintaining contact by residents in care homes with their families

Carmarthenshire County Council

More than 100 iPads are being handed out to council care homes in Carmarthenshire so that residents can communicate face to face with their loved ones. It comes after visiting restrictions were placed on residential homes across the UK in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. The 110 tablets will be distributed across the seven homes, which accommodate 248 beds, and will ensure residents maintain contact via video calling their families and relatives whilst they are staying indoors to protect from the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Local Digital good news stories in response to the COVID-19 pandemic


Ukauthority.com’s online news platform contains a wealth of information on the rapid innovations and solutions being developed by councils and their partners to address the local challenges presented by COVID-19.

Assessment planning framework for adult social care

Brighton & Hove City Council

Brighton & Hove City Council’s adult social care team has created a new interim assessment and support planning framework in response to the planning and logistical challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis. It supports quick and effective professional decision making about the use of easements in line with the Coronavirus Act and Ethical Framework. The challenge of re-designing well-established processes and infrastructures for assessment, care and support planning and approval of packages to enable such prioritisation of resource is even more challenging with the additional pressures of dealing with lack of staffing capacity, remote working and senior management teams responding to a rapidly changing situation.

Low code applications in response to COVID-19

Worcestershire County Council

In mid-March, two developers were tasked with developing a range of apps for different departments across the authority in response to the developing pandemic, and were joined by two additional developers later in the month. Applications include matching volunteers to requests from vulnerable people, staff redeployemnt, staff absences due to Coronavirus, existing medical condition declarations, care experience and Coronavirus testing requests and results.

Detailed review of a London Borough response to COVID-19

London Borough of Wandsworth

One of the first detailed accounts of what this crisis looks like in a busy inner London borough. This paper provides the facts and figures behind the scale of the crisis that has unfolded. It sets out the heroic efforts of council staff from across all services and working with our partners to shield the vulnerable, provide food for those who need it, accommodation for the homeless, support to our businesses, leadership to our communities and public services in an instantly transformed way.

Telecare support for citizens through the pandemic

Trikala Municipality, Greece

ACTIVAGE project includes integrated care for chronic conditions, activity monitoring, emergency alerting, cognitive simulation, prevention of isolation and mobility support

Highlights from the municipality’s response to COVID-19

Tel Aviv-Yafo

Municipality’s response to COVID-19 – presentation introducing the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo’s response to COVID-19

Coronavirus makes smarter working hit home

Geoff Connell (Norfolk County Council)

How Norfolk County Council expanded its existing remote-working service to cover 5,000 staff, with Teams training, equipment allowances and drive-through kit collection.

County response to COVID-19

Norfolk County Council

Presentation covering the technical and digital response by Norfolk County Council to COVID-19, including the changes to keep and those not to go back to.

Virtual planning committee

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

Reshaping home care and social services during COVID-19

Issy-les-Moulineaux Municipality, France

Crowd sourced approach using open data to reduce travel demands by coordinating shopping and deliveries and to promote activities in the home

Flexible and remote working

Liverpool City Council

Liverpool council’s digital programme, its challenges and successes and how they are working to a background of Covid-19

County response to COVID-19

Norfolk County Council

Presentation covering the technical and digital response by Norfolk County Council to COVID-19, including the changes to keep and those not to go back to.

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