Digital technologies continue to deliver services to residents

Digital connectivity Published Friday, 26th June 2020

As the lockdown is eased in Worcestershire, the County Council is continuing to transform people’s lives through digital technology.

As the lockdown is eased in Worcestershire, the County Council is continuing to transform people’s lives through digital technology.
 
Coronavirus has made everyone lead a more remote lifestyle, work in new ways and rely on online resources the County Council has to offer. More than a quarter of a million people visited the County Council website in May this year.
 
The Council has been in a strong position to deal with rapidly changing needs during the pandemic due to its investment into IT infrastructure and digital teams over the past two years.
 
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 these applications is Here2Help, Worcestershire’s community action campaign, enabling residents to both offer and request help. Here2Help was launched in record time. It was then developed so that requests and offers can 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.
 
Andrew Spice, Strategic Director for Commercial & 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.”
 
Supporting Council employees so they can continue to serve people in Worcestershire has never been so important. 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 vast majority of Council staff are working safely from home using IT systems that are working well.
 
Libraries have also transformed the way they lend to residents. Nearly fifty thousand e-books, audio books and e-magazines (47,703) have been downloaded from the Council’s digital library service in the last 3 months. 
 
In addition, 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 16 July.
 
The Council has signed the Government Digital Services (GDS) Digital Declaration. This commits the Council to working on a new scale to deliver the best digital services for residents whilst protecting their privacy and security.
 
To find out more about the Council’s digital strategy and to find out more about digital projects, please go to www.worcestershire.gov.uk/digital.