Worcestershire County Council investment in digital technology 'paying off'
Worcestershire County Council’s investment in IT and digital technology is paying off the authority’s cabinet member responsible for it has said.
With coronavirus prompting people to lead more remote lifestyles and work in new ways the county council has offered services, with more than 250,000 people visiting its website in May this year.
Conservative councillor Karen May, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Transformation and Commissioning said: “Our investment into IT and digital over recent years has really paid off in 2020.
“The internet is frequently described as the fourth utility and people are spending more time online than ever.
“We will continue to increase our online services and use digital technology to help more residents access services and enable our staff to effectively deliver them.”
When lockdown began, the council’s digital teams were able to help residents quickly by responding to the changing needs of council services.
So far 18 new applications have been made.
One of the applications is Here2Help, Worcestershire’s community action campaign, enabling residents to both offer and request help.
Here2Help, launched quickly, was developed so requests and offers could be mapped, matched and measured easily.
To date there have been 3,147 requests for help.
Digital systems have also been built to enable quick, effective distribution of essential goods and services, including emergency food and PPE [personal protective equipment].
Andrew Spice, Strategic Director for Commercial and Change, said: “I am very proud of our digital teams.
“They support services right across Worcestershire County Council and never more so than throughout the pandemic.
“Working in an agile way, they have responded well to make sure that residents get the services they need quickly.
“Many of the applications put together in the last few months will be built upon and inform our future work.”
Digital HR systems have been built so staff can request PPE and office equipment, share their skills so they can be redeployed and declare any medical needs so the council can keep them safe.
The majority of council staff are working safely from home using IT systems.
All council, cabinet, scrutiny and other public meetings are now safely held over Zoom and broadcast live through YouTube for residents to watch.
The first full council meeting will be held on Thursday, July 16.
The council has signed the Government Digital Services (GDS) Digital Declaration.
That commits the council to working on a new scale to deliver the best digital services for residents while protecting their privacy and security.