It’s January, a time we all think about fresh starts. Here in the Digital team we’re not only thinking about the New Year, but of a new programme.

At the end of December we wrapped up our first programme. This supported the Council’s 2015-17 business transformation programme. During the past two years we have, as a large and enthusiastic group of teams, and as a wider organisation, worked tirelessly to deliver the technical capabilities and culture to support this transformation. Over and above that we have all gone further and worked harder to harness all the potential of that programme and create a meaningful legacy that would set us up technically and culturally for further change.

We have changed what we do and how we do it. We have made significant progress in improving our IT and Digital culture and our relationship with services. As teams we have been able to reflect on how we work and take ownership of our improvement journey. With services we have taken a collaborative approach to prioritising and co-ordinating work.

We have created high quality reusable technical capabilities, streamlining our architecture and taking ownership to improve customer interaction, simplifying service design. This video takes a look at some of the achievements of Phase 1 of the Digital by Design programme.

Digital by Design Phase 2

Towards the end of the 2015-17 programme we started to think about how we use technology and our new skills, knowledge and culture to support the change we predict we need over the next two years. We agreed late last year with Council Members a new programme falling into two distinct areas. One focuses on how we exploit the capabilities we already have and develop new ones to transform our back office services within our Corporate and Support Services directorate. This includes looking at the exciting new area of Robotic Process Automation and how this can support and knit together some of our current capabilities.

The second is a continuation of our strong relationship with the Stockport Family to develop their industry leading social care and early support set of services in which they are driven to exploit technology at every touchpoint to deliver better outcomes at lower cost. These build on the Stockport Family philosophy of creating well, resilient, independent families. We achieved great things over the past two years and will continue this partnership, embedding their strategic philosophy into each and every part of the Stockport family digital platform.

The programme will be familiar in parts, building on what we have already achieved. In other areas it will stretch our technical and organisational skills and comfort zone as we go into new areas of the business, forging new relationships with different teams in IT, new service areas and new user groups. It will be an exciting but challenging time.

Service design and product strategy

In addition to building on what we have we are also evolving our organisational capabilities. We are supporting new and complex challenges by stepping up our service design and product strategy capabilities, creating boards to oversee the growing number of ideas and our pipeline and delivery of potential innovative improvement projects as well their benefit realisation within services.

We are continuing to hone our skills in coaching, Agile, Service Design and Scrum as well as being trained on new technologies such as Microsoft 365 and Azure.

There is a lot to do, but we have done it before. As individuals we will continue to be able bring our whole selves to work, to be valued for what we can bring and to work together to create an amazing culture, productive teams and great products and services. Products and services that change the day to day lives of staff and citizens.

I have had an amazing time delivering the initial Digital by Design programme and I am excited to be part of this next phase of the journey for the Council and our Services.