Be part of the next Top Talent training cohort in Essex on 24 and 25 June

How do you design and deliver services?

Illustration showing an event stand with salesman talking to potential customer

Share National: Service Design and Transformation for local government

Our final national event of the year kicked off with a welcome and introductions from Socitm Director of leadership development and research Nadira Hussain. Nadira explained how service design and transformation influences all policy themes for Socitm. The focus of day 1 is putting the end user at the centre of decision making.

Transforming services around people and place

Professor Donna Hall CBE, Chair of New Local and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust 

Professor Hall’s fascinating keynote was full of insights and real examples of how using data to intervene has created better life outcomes for residents.

Black and white sketch of Professor Donna Hall wearing glasses and smiling

In Wigan, using insights from data across public services 4,000 people, out of a population of more than 300,000, were highlighted at being of risk of an unplanned hospital admission. By understanding and focussing on the needs of this cohort, positive outreach and intervention took place. As a result, the unplanned hospital admission figures went down 30% within a year.  

Read about lessons from the Wigan Deal identified by the King’s Fund

Further reading: Hilary Cottam’s Radical Help was recommended by Donna and others in the Teams chat.

Putting users at the heart of digital transformation

Faith la Grange, Director, local and regional government at Microsoft
Rhys Lovegrove, Head of technology strategy and portfolio for Essex County Council
Kurt Frary, Deputy director of IMT, CTO at Norfolk County Council and Socitm’s East chair

Faith was next up and supported by Rhys and Kurt. The group spoke passionately about focussing on the end user when it comes to service design, explaining too often the technical solution leads to a poor experience for the person on the end of it.

Rhys defined their Microsoft 365 transformation as “not a technology project”.

Kurt spoke about their Norfolk Assistive Technology Application for Living Independently​ project to support people to live independently for longer. By intervening earlier to prevent people joining the care and health system too early.

Behaviour change is at the heart of all digital transformation

Stephen Donajgrodzki, Director of behavioural science at Kellogg Company
Alison Wilde, Co-founder of Birdsoup

A fascinating presentation was then delivered by Stephen and Alison on behaviour change. They broke down the theory of understanding human behaviour and nudging people into positive change. This was not only focussed on the end user but also staff and stakeholders, which both presenters demonstrated how this provides better outcomes for all.

Picture of people sitting around a desk and all looking at a monitor. The text over the top is: Up to 70% of our behaviour is shaped by our environment. Why do we keep trying to change the person but forget about shaping the environment?

Enable citizen access: modernised digital identity for local government

Nick Caley, Vice-president UK, Eire, Middle East & Africa, ForgeRock

Nick spoke about a desire from citizens for a seamless, personalised digital experience is no longer the preserve of the private sector. 

Happy man looking at his smart phone. With the text: ForgeRock - centralised citizen access. Modernising digital identity for local government [through] reduced cost, mitigating fraud, building trust and improving experiences

Members, a digital identity report is on its way. Watch out for the notification in your inbox and Teams channel. In the meantime, read the case study of how France’s largest state pension scheme, Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Vieillesse (CNAV), manages authentication and digital identity.

Delivering digital transformation with document solutions

Out Top Talent Manchester cohort were next up. Within their 3 groups, they gave presentations on the challenge they were posed during the course:

  • Why and how are you changing your print services and document management?
    • Do you target all business processes or one in particular?
    • How will you know it’s worked and how will you prepare people for the change?
Photograph of people on screen in a Microsoft Teams meeting during the Top Talent project presentations

For the first time, our colleagues at Canon (project sponsors for this cohort) awarded a prize to the best group. The surprise prize went to Team Green. Congratulations!

Transforming services around people and place

Nadira Hussain (Chair), with Professor Donna Hall, Stephen Donajgrodzki, Alison Wilde and Faith La Grange.

The day was wrapped up with a passionate panel session which debated a place based approach to transforming services in a post pandemic world.

Digital transformation: start small and go big

Nicola Harvey, Chief officer, director customer & digital services at the City of Edinburgh Council

An energising first session, on day 2, was delivered by Nicola. 

She gave an insightful presentation on the work she has led at Edinburgh on the transformation journey they have been though and the dynamics at play with the stakeholders and wider teams throughout.

Text and a photo with a sign that says Get the basics right and the results with follow. The rest of the text is about Customer Digital Enablement. 
1. Build online services to make contacting the council simpler and quicker for residents and businesses. 
2. Reduce the cost to deliver council services by shifting the channel used for customer contact to the most efficient and appropriate - for many services this will be digital

The whole approach was well received and much appreciated. The concept of ‘knitting together’ to streamline the experience for the user was especially popular.

Digital technology to enable change and drive employee engagement

Chris Oldham, Director government and education, Citrix
Gerard Lavin, EMEA field CTO, Citrix

Chris and Gerard followed Nicola with a presentation on Sustainable work meets sustainable IT. The data and numbers they shared really puts sustainability challenges into perspective.

They used a case study from Kingston and Sutton Councils, to show the technology being used to innovate work styles and how it has helped deliver services to citizens through new methods.

On the Teams chat another case study was shared, as soon as Raspberry Pi and the University of Cambridge were mentioned.

Pink unicorns, pragmatism and fixing the plumbing

Kate Lindley, Client services director at Socitm Advisory
Carol Williams, Director of transformation and digital at Walsall Council and chair of Socitm Midlands

Pink unicorns, pragmatism and fixing the plumbing’ was the intriguing title for a presentation by Kate and Carol. The session gave a very clear vision on the difficulties dealing with legacy systems. Trying to reinvent the wheel versus pragmatism by putting the user front and centre to avoid doing more of the same.

Slightly out of focus picture that's a little too small to read, but really it's the colour and style that is its purpose here. It's a mostly purple cartoon-esque drawing of people in a park with example buildings (a house, office and factory) showing the components of Walsall Council and their collective journey from 2020 to 2025

This was brought to life with a fascinating case study from Walsall Council who went through this, which we can all learn from.

Outside: In. A strategic approach to designing new services and making best use of technology

Nicole Miners, Local Government Services Specialist, Microsoft Consulting Services

Nicole led a session on how the public sector and organisations are approaching joined up, user-centered change in a digital world.

A photograph of a sign reading Wrong Way and some tips on local government transformation to avoid.
1. Lack of strong executive participation
2. Being too ambitious with the first delivery
3. Being wed to the past
4. Choosing vendors not partners
5. Hiring for skill sets rather than strategy

Read more about how this worked at Devon County Council​

Renewed Service Excellence

Henry Branson, Consultant with iGnite Consulting.

Henry delivered a case study on how Guildford Borough Council executed its ‘Future Guildford’ project.

It was interesting to learn how the council is increasingly being asked to demonstrate cost savings, while at the same time modernising and elevating the service they provide citizens. Through the ‘Future Guildford’ programme a ‘self-service’ channel shift was one of the many outcomes in several astonishing results.

Lessons learned from the project with Guildford Borough Council
1. You cannot involved stakeholders too much
2. Make timely decisions
3. Test, test and test again

Digital transformation in a state of panic

Austin Tanney, Head of digital and data strategy, Strategic Investment Board

Austin Tanney rounded the day’s presentation’s off with a great talk on the transforming services in a state of panic. And for the second Share National in a row someone shared a cartoon by Virpi Oinonen of

Austin and his team achieved so much in that state of panic (no pink unicorns ). Those key takeaways to keep in mind are 1. Agile 2. Cloud and 3. Service Design. A fascinating conclusion, thank you.

Digital technology has played a big part in delivering a range of new. integrated public services for Northern Ireland citizens as part of the pandemic response. 
This image lists: COVIDCare NI; Public COVID Dashboard; Shielding Registry; Test Registry; StopCOVID NI; Contact Tracing Platform; Digital Self Trace; Public Health Intelligence System; Vaccine Management Platform; COVID certification Service