Our strategy is underpinned by the following principles, which guide the way we work as we pursue our vision.
1. We focus relentlessly on meeting user needs
As a digital service, we exist to meet the needs of our users. Every piece of work we undertake will be based upon meeting a need that our service users have, which will help us to always build the right thing. We do this by speaking directly to our users and observing how they interact with our services, focusing on what they show they need rather than say they want.
We make sure our digital services are accessible to all users, regardless of disability.
We are acutely aware of the digitally excluded, and so we make sure:
- “assisted digital” support is available to help residents use our digital services
- “digital inclusion” learning opportunities and public computers are available across the borough, to help more residents get online
- non-digital channels always remain available to those who really need them
2. We continuously improve all our products and services
No service is ever finished, or complete. There are always improvements that can be made. We will embed this concept into our work as much as our resources allow, putting working products into the hands of users early so we can test how well they work, providing us with the insight needed to improve them over time. We won’t be afraid to experiment and fail, delete things that don’t work, learn from them and try new approaches.
3. We base our decisions on evidence
We will base all of our design and technology decisions on the basis of the insight gained through activities such as user research, service performance metrics, the study of web analytics, user feedback and other available evidence, rather than relying on guesswork. We have an enormous amount to do, so will prioritise rigorously based on evidence of what will deliver the best outcomes for users. We will ensure that we monitor the performance of live services and use that data to identify where we need to improve them.
4. We invest in teams, not projects
Our aim to become a truly digital council and borough is predicated on investing in the people and technology needed to effect this significant change. Digital work is often packaged into programmes of work, with defined, time-limited budgets, and teams that disband once the project is ‘complete’. But we know that digital products and services are never complete, and must be continually improved and iterated upon. We therefore intend digital work to become a mainstream activity, to develop the council into an organisation that is digital rather than just does digital.
5. We work in the open
Our aim is to work as openly as we can on all of our projects. This means we blog about our work and what we are learning, and we share our ideas widely to get feedback and suggestions. Where we can we will share code, learnings and other products we create, enabling others to benefit from our efforts. We also share our data, safely putting it out there to help others create value from it. This helps us to do better work, as it creates a much bigger community around what we are doing than just an internal audience.