Blackburn with Darwen Council currently has over 200 different types of systems, databases or pieces of software within our estate. This isn’t particularly uncommon for an organisation of our size however, we can make things less complicated.
One of our Digital roadmap aims is to reduce this number over the coming years by introducing software that provides repeatable functionality (e.g pay for something, book an appointment etc) across a ranges of services for our citizens. We will also be looking at how we share data between the remaining systems to allow data to be entered once, rather than multiple times to inform multiple systems.
The picture is a systems map of all our software products, and we are now working on what our future system map looks like.
As Council services have changed and modified over previous years, purchasing of software has been focused on specific solutions for specific needs. Over the same period, the software market has expanded massively to provide software that meets a much wider range of requirements removing the need for lots of specific solutions. This ultimately means that we do not need multiple solutions bespoke to Council departments, but that we can use a small set of solutions to fulfil the requirements across a broader range of services. Ultimately this will result in a lot less systems to administer and pay for, but more importantly each interaction across the Council services will be the same for our citizens.
The new Digital Customer Portal (DCP) is the first stage in helping the Council to achieve this aim. The DCP will become the main gateway to communicate and transact with the council as we move into 2021 and beyond. Requirements for the DCP cover a wide range of services and functionalities so that slowly but surely, service areas that require case or document management, asset management, booking or appointment functionality and many other capabilities will no longer require their legacy system. The portal will become seamlessly integrated with the remaining systems and be prominent on our Council Website allowing our Citizens to interact with the services with ease.
We are putting our citizens at the heart of designing our DCP and have been actively championing for citizens to get involved and give us feedback on what could work better at the Council. We call these sessions ‘User Research’. If you are a citizen and want to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to sharing with you some of the output of theses session in the coming months.