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Modernising service delivery: some highlights

A few of the interesting and useful things from our Share National event

If you were in Manchester with us, and there’s something missing from the list … let us know.

From VP Carol Williams’s introduction (…steal with pride…)

We have been tackling public service transformation for many years. Each year seems to get harder and harder. Right here today I believe is the most challenging times public services have faced and it is about to get even tougher.

Effective service delivery starts with putting the customer at the heart of what we do. Understanding the customer journey and developing easy to access services available anytime and from anywhere.

To be agile and effective we need a modern digital environment and skilled staff to deliver change on a continuous improvement basis. Recruitment and retention are key issues we are facing as well as gaining insight and learning from the data and information we hold.

Identity as an enabler to transform citizen services and better access to digital services
Nick Butcher and Jas Sagoo, Okta

The words and imagery on this slide caught the imagination early and the words “fat caterpillar” cropped up throughout the day as shorthand for what you don’t want from your digital transformation:

"When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”​ George Westerman​, Principal Research Scientist​, MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy​. Underneath this is a series of images of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.

Source of the data used in the presentation

2022 Public Sector Identity Index Report – UK

Public Sector Identity Index Report

This is the case study with Thanet District Council that cropped up during the Q&A – you might remember the fireside chat from President’s Conference in Cardiff earlier this year 😉

Compassionate and empowering leadership in a time of crisis
James Winterbottom, Director (Digital, Leisure and Wellbeing Services) Wigan Council 
The Deal 2030. Our People. Our Place. Our Future. Wigan Council.

Thank you for another word/image of the day here: permacrisis

BeWigan, is now 4 staff behaviours (Alison McKenzie-Folan added Be Kind during the first lockdown).

Staff Behaviours. BeWigan: because how we do things is just as important as what we do. Four squares with simple statements each starting with Be. Be Courageous - be open to doing things differently and working collaboratively with others. Be Accountable: be responsible for making things better, enabling change and supporting improvement. Be Positive: take pride in all that you do and support and develop yourself and others. Be Kind; be helpful, generous and thoughtful towards yourself and others.

Read research on Wigan Council from the King’s Fund.

Human leadership skills for a new reality:

  1. Persistence
  2. Systems thinking
  3. Intellectually honest
  4. Intellectually humble
  5. Empathy

Read more about these skills in Marian Temmen’s blog: Our Future Leaders Will Need To Be Compassionate and Emotionally Intelligent – Are You Rethinking Leadership in this New Reality in the Right Way?

In the table discussions, the description “Tetris wall of meetings” was very well received and understood! Now that we can have back-to-back meetings, without the need to walk to and from different meeting rooms it’s too easy to forget that that time was useful. Not wasteful.

Coincidentally our colleague Aidan Matthews shared research on exactly this just the previous day:

Microsoft Work Trend Index Special Report: Research Proves Your Brain Needs Breaks

Illustrations of brains scans with heat maps indicating less and more stress.
Your brain works differently when you take breaks
Taking time out between video calls prevents stress from building up.
Paul Bright from IP Performance

There was a handy reminder from Paul about their Cyber Breach Workshops – get on the waiting list now. 2023 dates will be confirmed and published over the next few weeks.

Lyndon Fraser from Google

Google joined us for the first time and introduced their ChromeOS Flex.

You can now convert your ageing Windows devices into fully managed, ultra secure, fast Chromebooks/boxes that are supported for up to 10 years from their original date of manufacture – more info here. A compelling solution from a security, commercial, and sustainable IT perspective – here is a list of certified models that can run Flex to date but if you have devices not listed let them know as they are continually adding to this.

The fastest growing use cases for ChromeOS Flex within local government, is in support of digital inclusion initiatives and repurposing public access devices in libraries, children/adult/family centres, youth projects and so on.

Reference stories:

Hackney Council: “Chromebooks are simple-to-use and cost-effective devices that do everything that our staff need them to do, which is mainly accessing Google Workspace online. As soon as the Grab and Go Chromebooks were available, they were well used every day.” Henry Lewis, Head of Platform, Hackney Council
Measuring Performance Improvement; So essential yet so avoided, why?
Michael Litterick and Will Costello from Socitm Advisory
How does your organisation respond o failure and mistakes?
Wherever there is fear, there will be wrong figures.
W E Deming, The New Economics

Possibly not the first mention of psychological safety, but it was a key theme of the day.

Panel session: How is your authority modernising service delivery?

Sam Ali, Digital Projects Manager at Newport City Council and non-executive board member with the Centre for Digital Public Services

Some of the best bits here about Newport, the community and values they’re creating and the focus they have on supporting people to

Top Talent: supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Jason Nemits
Seven men and women standing in front of a large screen and a couple of desks that have been pushed together. They are all dressed in suits and are smiling.

They and we were introduced to Amazon’s Working Backwards methodology. It made for interesting presentations and discussions!

Panel session: What are you doing to recruit and retain good people?

A few key comments from the panellists (in no particular order)

  • The importance of creating inclusive psychologically safe workplaces/organisations
  • Inclusion – asking colleagues to share their stories of micro aggressions, unconscious bias and hidden disability. Listening to the lived experiences of your colleagues, opens up the range of challenges they deal with that you have no idea about. Sharing and listening creates empathy and widens understanding. Storytelling was a key theme of the day.
  • Diversity and inclusion needs to become part of organisation’s fabric
And finally. The best of all biscuits is….

The chocolate hob nob. Your choice of plain or milk chocolate.