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Kingston and Sutton approve next digital steps


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Kingston and Sutton Councils have agreed on a joint digital strategy that includes more online self-service, increased use of open data, more automation and a shift to the cloud.

The two south-west London councils, which have shared an ICT service since 2013, have approved the strategy as a forward plan until 2021. It builds heavily on the strategy agreed in 2016-17, indicating a continuation of much of the work but with signs of new steps and an emphasis on the main priorities.

These include investments in open data and open standards, sharing data by default with published APIs required of suppliers to encourage innovation by people outside the council.

There are plans to develop a secure, cloud based digital platform for services, with an emphasis on customers being able to book, pay, report and apply for services. Along with this the councils will complete their adoption of Google’s G-Suite of software and operate a ‘Google First’ approach, integrating the suite with its line of business systems.

Another element is a planned pilot in the use of robot process automation, initially focused on council tax and HR processes for employees joining and leaving the councils.

Also on the cards is the further development of the shared ICT service, working with partners to improve broadband and Wi-Fi in the area, and more joint working with the healthcare and third sectors.

Evolving vision

Sutton’s Councillor Sunita Gordon commented: “We have spoken to residents, businesses, partners, experts and the voluntary sector to gather views from the technology sector, universities, other councils and community groups. This strategy sets out how the councils’ vision has evolved, and underpins and complements the existing strategies and vision.”

Councillor Jon Tolley, Kingston’s portfolio holder for community engagement, said: “As leaders and advocates in the delivery of digital government, we believe that our learning and insights can help transform government, build long term foundations, unlock growth and help lives every day.

“We have a responsibility to our residents and local communities to play an important role in the delivery of digital government.”

Among the councils’ earlier initiatives has been an updated website enabling more online transactions, a smart cities project, a review of the local digital infrastructure, moves to replace the existing customer contract platform with a digital customer platform, the implementation of a corporate digital content platform, and the delivery of a social prescribing website.

Image from iStock, pagadesign

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