Cornwall Council has adopted a new digital strategy that includes plans for an open data portal, more automation, cloud migration, a payment portal and a ‘people’s platform’ for community collaboration.
Its cabinet approved the Digital Future Strategy last week, indicating that it will begin a market engagement to put it into effect.
The strategy involves seven themes around familiar trends in public sector digital: an increase in online self-service capabilities for the public; breaking down data siloes to provide a single view of the customer; building internal digital skills and adopting tools; the digitalisation of processes; increasing the use of cloud infrastructure; building IT resilience and security; and encouraging a culture of innovation.
Plans for its delivery have been categorised into ambitions within three horizon periods, the first of which will cover the next 12 months.
A key feature is the closure of the council’s data centres and decommissioning of some legacy systems as more services are moved to the Azure cloud. The document says this is expected to strengthen operational resilience and help reduce the council’s carbon footprint.
Customer service effort
It also includes a strong focus on customer service with measures such as the adoption of a new identity platform based on Microsoft Azure, a new resident portal, an authenticated webchat process, an enquiries portal for councillors’ casework and a review of the processes that sit on the legacy Lagan systems.
Also within the first horizon are the launch of an open data portal, the development of standardised offerings to support hybrid working, a process automation framework, the wider adoption of chatbots and an increase in technology enabled care.
The second horizon runs from 12-14 months and includes further work on the single view of the resident, the launch of a payment portal, an increased use of Microsoft tools including Sharepoint and Power BI, and the establishment of an academy to build the digital and data capability of the council.
Beyond this, the third horizon involves the development of a people’s platform for communities to solve their problems through collaboration, and increased data modelling and forecasting.
There will also be a wider use of the internet of things, with the development of a supporting strategy and architecture and the deployment of a technology platform. This will provide scope for work on proof of concepts in the care sector and for environmental purposes.
Cornwall is assessing options for the relevant commercial approach. An appendix document makes clear it will have to invest to achieve its ambitions and outlines options for increasing internal budgets, developing a mixed economy of internal capacity and external contractors, finding a prime supplier or taking on a strategic partner.
It indicates that there will be a market engagement process with the intention of specifying delivery options, clear specifications and a detailed link to benefits realisation.
It also says the sourcing strategy will follow the advice of the Cabinet Office’s Digital, Data and Technology Playbook.