About this strategy

“A truly digital council will be more connected and integrated, using digital to reimagine service delivery that is user- centric and meets users’ needs – with citizens, communities and businesses reaping the benefits.”

Council of the Future: A digital guide for councillors – Tech UK 2018.

Digital is not about technology, it’s about changing the way people live, connect and work.

This strategy, therefore, is about how we will deliver the services and infrastructure our residents need in order to thrive and live happy, healthy lives in Croydon, now and for years to come. It’s about how we as a council can achieve more, with less, to serve our residents better and tailor how we deliver services to meet differing needs in our localities. It’s about creating a modern, sustainable town and borough that is a great place to live, work, play and do business, and about making sure we remain resilient and competitive in a rapidly changing world.

As a consequence of delivering this strategy:

  • Croydon residents will have a radically better experience when accessing the council’s services and information, with an easy-to-use website that works on any device, digital services so good and convenient that people prefer to use them when they can, and digital communications which inform and consult them on the issues they care about
  • Croydon residents will also have access to an enhanced digital skills offer, helping them build their confidence in areas from basic computer literacy through to the professional skills they need to access the jobs of the future
  • Croydon residents, visitors, students and businesses will enjoy faster broadband connectivity and a digitally-enhanced public realm, through initiatives including public WiFi, digital wayfinding information, apps that bring the community together, and smart technology solutions that help reduce energy consumption, lower emissions, improve public safety and help make Croydon a more attractive place to be
  • Croydon will have a thriving digital business sector, with start-ups, scale-ups and established businesses creating growth and prosperity, working together as a cooperative ecosystem, and helping to change perceptions of Croydon as we become more widely recognised a leading destination for tech
  • Croydon council staff will have access to continuously improving technology and have the skills and confidence to use it well, helping them deliver great services to residents as efficiently as possible and freeing up more of their time for frontline services
  • Partner organisations will be able to work with the council and with each other more effectively, supported by digital collaboration tools and more open communications, and making use of shared data and digital platforms to enable a more joined-up, system-wide approach to delivering positive change in Croydon

Definition of digital

When we say digital in this strategy, we mean the following definition, widely adopted in the UK public sector:

“Applying the culture, processes, business models and technologies of the internet era to respond to people’s raised expectations”

Tom Loosemore, Public Digital

Policy context

This digital strategy is an enabling document to the council’s Corporate Plan for Croydon 2018-2022. Having a responsive, agile and user-centred digital service is key to the successful delivery of the council’s ambitions.

Six themes are discussed in the Corporate Plan which represent the council’s way of operating in the future. Digital contributes meaningfully to each:

•  Evidence is key

•  Preventing issues becoming problems

•  Locality matters

•  Residents drive what we do

We will put residents at the heart of our approach to designing digital services, using research and continual testing to ensure our services meet their real- world needs, enabling them to achieve their goals as quickly and efficiently

as possible. As we transform our digital services we will also create rapid, often real-time feedback loops, enabling services and underlying policy to be continuously improved based on evidence of how well they are meeting residents’ needs.

Data science and new data analytics platforms enable evidence from multiple sources to be combined and interpreted in new ways, for better (sometimes automated and predictive) decision making. The council is already making good use of these new capabilities, developing dashboards to provide rich insights, and has plans to embed a culture of business intelligence to support our localities model.

Thirdly, through better use of digital engagement tools and social media, we can increase the scale and openness with which we engage residents in decisions that affect them.

 

•  A system wide approach

Digital enables collaboration across organisations and sectors to achieve shared outcomes, and collaboration is one of our main themes of this digital strategy.
 

•  Organisation design

Every part of the council workforce relies upon effective digital tools, and stands to benefit from the adoption of digital culture and ways of working in order to become a more adaptive, connected, mobile and collaborative organisation.