Melton Borough Council and Hinckley and Bosworth Council select UK SME to meet Digital by Default service standard
September 17th, 2013, Leicester, UK: Web experience management SME Jadu has been selected to support Melton Borough Council’s online transformation programme as part of a £86,000 contract through the G-Cloud Cloudstore. The project, which will be conducted in partnership with neighbouring Hinckley and Bosworth Council, is focused on improving each local authority’s .GOV.UK website – specifically the communities’ mobile access to online council resources.
Melton Borough Council began evaluating how best to improve its existing website in 2012, including customer mapping exercises and basic focus groups. It wasn’t until the council piloted a Universal Credit scheme in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – an exercise aimed at getting unemployed jobseekers to serve themselves online – that it gained the right level of insight into citizens’ online habits to design a better set of digital services.
Facilitating ‘Channel Shift’ – the evolution of customer interaction from face-to-face and telephone, to online communication – is a key focus for any public sector organisation today to ensure a more efficient ‘anytime, anywhere’ experience for users. Based on the data collated, Melton Borough council decided to migrate from its defunct legacy platform and develop a new web portal from the ground up using Jadu’s Universe CMS Platform, accessible on all devices.
“We are committed to providing the local community with a seamless, consistent and high quality digital service, regardless of what device they may be using, and Jadu is helping us make this a reality,” explained Sarah-Jane O’Connor, HR and communications manager at Melton Borough Council. “Through our shared IT resources with Hinckley and Bosworth, we will be able to enjoy the benefits of a highly responsive website design that paves the way for future cost and productivity savings as our online services continue to develop.”
All new or redesigned digital services must meet the Digital by Default criteria set by the Government Digital Strategy by April 2014. In these early stages of the Melton Borough Council project, there is a focus on improving and automating the back end systems, with the full project timeframe estimated at six to seven months.
“Getting our IT delivery right is a top priority. Jadu’s extensive local authority experience and forward thinking attitude has already helped us tremendously,” continued Ms O’Connor. “While the team is constantly buzzing with new ideas, they are completely aligned with the Council’s objectives and always focused on what things look like from the customer perspective.”
“We’re delighted to be working with local authorities like Melton Borough Council as a crucial part of their strategy to transform their digital services,” said Richard Friend, global director at Jadu. “The speed at which local authorities can now move on implementing digital strategy and realising savings through the G-Cloud presents a major opportunity for achieving Channel Shift in local government.”
While central government has played an active part in delivering services through the G-Cloud since its launch in 2012, there has been some trepidation from local government authorities citing the framework as ‘too immature’ in a past Socitm survey. For Melton Borough Council, this was not an issue.
“Purchasing through the G-Cloud was a fantastic experience,” added Ms O’Connor. “As a local authority we must still follow certain procurement procedures, but the G-Cloud made the options available to us clearer and the decision-making process quicker. I’d estimate that making our selection via the G-Cloud saved Melton Borough Council several months.”
“As a UK SME, we have the flexibility, expertise and commitment to support both local and central government needs. For any G-Cloud supplier, significant investment in robust security, industry accreditation and a firm infrastructure are required for success – that’s an investment Jadu made long before we sold our first service,” concluded Mr Friend.
Last month, Jadu revealed that the Ministry of Justice had invested £1.5 million through the G-Cloud to expedite and simplify end-to-end processes within Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), using Jadu’s Universe Platform. The project was run using Agile methodology and delivered the Employment Tribunals Fee Payments service – one of the Government’s 25 exemplar digital services.