Do you need to get more of your services online? Got some new income targets to achieve? This new initiative and very kind offer, might be right up your street. Read on…
By Phil Rumens
The amount of things you can book through a council might surprise you.
From something as humdrum as organising a time slot to speak at a planning committee, hiring a sports pitch or booking a training course, right through to locating someone to officiate your wedding, councils offer tens of services that involve a booking element or “capability” as it’s sometimes referred to.
So if you work for a council comms team what should you be promoting, through which channels, and to who? If you work for a council digital team, what should you be looking to re-design and create online? Where’s the demand?
Point #1 of the Local Government Digital Service Standard says “Understand user needs. Research to develop deep knowledge of who the service users are” and at West Berkshire Council we’re looking to do just that as part of our Digital Transformation Programme.
We’re going to be asking our residents about what and how they currently book services, and one of the methods we’ll be using is an online survey. We’ll be asking them whether they have booked a cinema ticket, a function room, or a hire car online. From this, and other research, we’ll be able to build a picture of demand for different services and where we need to create online booking opportunities for our services.
What’s this got to do with you, though?
Well I’m also co-chair of LocalGov Digital, a network for digital practitioners working in local government, and one of our aims to promote collaboration between councils. If West Berkshire Council is running a survey, other councils could and should be able to benefit from this, and that’s the plan here.
We’ll make the survey generic enough so that it can be promoted by any UK council to its residents, and we’re happy to share the responses with others as we’re not asking for any personal information. If you work for a council and would like to promote the survey to your residents to get a better picture of their needs, whilst contributing to what could be a national survey.
You can see the draft survey here, and if you have any comments or would like to join this work then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I really hope that lots of you will join us on this one. We’ll keep you posted on progress.
Phil Rumens is Digital Services Manager at West Berkshire Council and co-chair of the LocalGovDigital Steering Group
Image via Flickr Creative Commons