In April 2019 Dorset Council was formed, bringing 6 councils together into one. The business case for Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) identified the new council should ‘optimise the use of digital to improve services and empower users’.
We want to create a modern, customer focused, 21st century council which operates in a thriving digital place. We were co-signatories of the Local Digital Declaration to signal our ambition.
Our Economic Growth Strategy has digital running through all five themes. We’re developing this strategy at the same time as the Dorset Local Enterprise Partner Local Industrial Strategy which aims to boost productivity by £1bn by 2030. These strategies need innovation, digital skills and technology, all underpinned by cutting-edge digital infrastructure.
Creating a new council provides a fantastic opportunity to embed digital at the heart of the new organisation and do things differently.
For us, digital is a way of thinking and working, designing services around the needs of people, making the most of modern technology, and doing this responding to the urgent climate challenge.
We’ve already started to deliver this vision, we have already:
- introduced a new post ‘Corporate Director for Digital and Change’
- created dedicated digital capacity to work alongside ICT Operations, Business Intelligence & Information Governance services
- adopted new tools, techniques and standards to design user-centred end to end services
- engaged businesses in developing our vision and work programme for a smart rural place
- worked with our partners to safely and securely share data to create the Dorset Care Record
- created networks of digital champions in the workforce and the community
- been successful with national funding to deliver local 5G pilots
- launched our digital podcast to run alongside the digital network
- started to use national components GOV.UK Notify and GOV.UK Pay
- adopted a cloud first approach to the council’s core technology services
COVID-19 has been a major disruptor. It has forced the whole organisation to change in response. This has demonstrated that we can move quickly and revealed the opportunities of working in different ways and delivering services alongside our communities.
We want to seize the moment, harness our experience and learning, and implement our digital vision and the commitments we made in the Local Digital Declaration with greater pace.