Member Article

Warwickshire County Council wins Digital Value Award

Warwickshire County Council has received a national award for its suite of mobile apps, recognising the widespread achievements digital technology has helped to facilitate across many departments.

The apps are the basis of an ambitious digital transformation journey, which so far have benefitted more than 500 members of staff across different areas of the organisation.

The programme of work has been led by Owen David, IT Programme Delivery Manager. He and his team have utilised a mobile development platform created by NDL to increase efficiency across Warwickshire County Council. The result is a series of apps built on a single platform, created to help the council to work more efficiently and better engage with the public.

• Social Care Customer Feedback Apps

To improve customer service and engagement, the team developed a customer feedback survey which could be accessed in real time. More than 2,500 customer reports linked to 200 social care practitioners have been collated so far, all captured electronically and securely, giving new insight into the fantastic work done by the social care team.

• Reablement Service Apps A series of apps for the reablement service was created to give visibility to the difference the service makes to customers, highlight areas for improvement and improve efficiency. The apps were carefully designed to best support the team, making it possible to introduce new processes into the working day of very busy social care practitioners without the need to increase resource. The data collected is accurate and available immediately, and not a single piece of paper is required. The Therapy Outcome Measures (TOMs) app alone has been used by 40 staff to record 600 assessments.

• Highways Mobile App

The Highways Mobile App has raised over 4,500 individual jobs by over twenty users to date, replacing paper-based forms and saving 25,500 sheets of paper as a result. Vastly reducing the manually-intensive, back office process that was required to handle the old paper forms. The app has removed the need for team members working on-site to return to the office to update their admin and saved up to 50 minutes of work a day. More than 7,500 hi res images have been collected by the team working remotely, providing clear instructions on what traffic management arrangements are needed.

• Property Management App The property condition survey app was designed for surveyors to record the deterioration of a building along with any defects that need to be rectified. By using the mobile app, the surveying process was transformed. A single surveyor can now record a full room-by-room and item-by-item survey at a property and securely transmit the data back to the property management system to analyse. Over 150,000 records have been collected so far, including 32,000 hi res photos.

• Car Park Offences App Developed by a student during a placement year with the council, this app was initially created in just half a day to record car park offences and has so far recorded more than 1,000. Paper forms are no longer required, reducing the opportunity for error and lost records between the relevant teams. The app has since been used as a test bed for new ideas such as using GPS to auto detect which car park the offence is in.

• Commercial Property Risk App Following a review of the Fire and Rescue Service, a key recommendation was to proactively survey commercial property and record risks and hazards. Since then, over 500 forms have been completed by fire personnel. The need for accuracy cannot be over emphasised and by digitising the entire process, the potential for error has been vastly reduced or removed altogether - for example the potential to lose a paper form, or misread poor handwriting. Due to the success of its mobile applications, Warwickshire County Council has been awarded the Digital Value Award at the 2020 NDL Community Awards, which celebrate the best use of transformational technology with social purpose. The Digital Value Award is awarded for demonstrating multiple uses from an investment in technology, to service the needs of multiple departments, automations or applications.

The awards recognize the innovative use of automation and digital tools to improve the design and delivery of public services. They provide opportunity to share best practice within a community of local councils and NHS Trusts, so that similar challenges being faced across the country can be overcome more easily.

ICT Programme Delivery Manager at Warwickshire County Council, Owen David, said: “We saw a fantastic opportunity to maximise our investment in mobile applications and apply our learnings for the benefit of a variety of teams across the council.”

“By developing a suite of apps using the same mobile platform, we have been able to achieve real value. Our teams now work more effectively and efficiently, paper consumption and travel has been greatly reduced and our data is more accurate. Not only that, but we have also improved the experience for those that both deliver and consume our public services, increasing customer and staff satisfaction.”

Warwickshire County Council is continuing its digital transformation journey with a pipeline of new apps in development, each built using its existing mobile platform provided by NDL. Over the next 12 months it plans to launch a new Legionella Management App, Home Care Record App, Hospital to Home Service App, Safe and Well Service App and Occupational Therapy App.

Owen added: “Not only are we creating real savings for the Council by way of efficiencies, but we have also provided learning and development opportunities for young people embarking on their careers. One of our most successful apps within the programme so far was developed by a student from a local university on a year in industry with us, and it’s exciting to see what new ideas the next generation bring to the table.”

“We are so pleased that we have been chosen to receive the Digital Value Award as we continue to develop and improve our services across the council. We have ambitious plans to build on this success over the year ahead, and we have employed a full time Mobile Apps Developer as demonstration of our commitment to pursuing a digital first strategy and to drive our development forward.”

Tom Wright, Head of Digital Engagement at NDL said: “Congratulations to Warwickshire County Council and to Owen and his team on their Digital Value Award, in recognition of their digital service mobilisation journey which continues to transform their everyday work.”

“Their innovative use of mobile applications has benefited departments across the council and by pushing forward with this digital project, teams are able to better use their time and skills to best support local residents.”

NDL is a UK SME software company that works with a community of public sector organisations.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jack Appleyard .

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