Our Digital Roadmap

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We have big ambitions to enable our citizens to interact with council services with ease. We have our game face on, we want to be the most Digital Council, so we are going to need a cracking plan! Previously there hasn't been an orderly queue of work, much of the workload within the IT department had been based on those individuals who had carved out a relationship with IT, rather than by an independent assessment method. This meant that we didn't have clear view of the work needed across the Council or an understanding of which projects were the biggest priority.

We set out in September to create a council wide Digital Roadmap to enable this vision. We worked with over 100 stakeholders across 13 design workshops, to identify a Council wide plan to implement solutions with real impact. There are lots of items on the roadmap, in excess of 200, however we have been able to establish 9 core workstreams to deliver these items.

So how do you prioritise this work?

By working with the business stakeholders we have introduced a scoring approach that will always mean we are working on the projects that deliver the highest impact and return. We based scoring on the benefit to the citizen, our employees, volume, risk and return on investment. This has allowed the business stakeholders to objectively score their items, but also to consider items in the wider context of the projects across the Council. The roadmap is also based on our current resource levels, so we can start to realistically estimate when new projects can start.

Sounds great, but how do you apply governance?

We have introduced a Design Authority to oversee all the work covering customer insight, digital projects, process design, and changes to our organisation. This key governance group has a representative from each Directorate who has complete decision making power across our Roadmaps. This will be an active group who will review proposals, add to proposals and make significant design decisions. The ultimate aim to ensure that the design of what we do as a Council is fully aligned to our corporate strategy. The Design Authority also authorises the submission of business cases for revenue and capital expenditure.

What if a new requirement or project arises?

The roadmap is designed to be more of a blueprint to delivering our organisational goals via digital initiatives rather than a rigid plan. The roadmap allows us to see where we are heading even if the exact route changes along the way. Therefore this flexibility means that any new items are submitted to the Design Authority to be scored and be prioritised alongside the existing workload. The picture is the workshop information we collected and scored with key stakeholders.

By Laura Hodkinson on 31st Jan 2020
Laura is the Head of Digital Transformation at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council