Five years ago, we were among the founding signatories of the Local Digital Declaration. Since then, hundreds of other local authorities and supporting organisations have signed, and over 300 organisations will celebrate Digital Declaration Month this July.

The Declaration brings together local government’s shared vision and ambition in one place. Those who have signed have committed to redesigning services around the needs of people using them, breaking the dependence on inflexible technology, designing safe, secure ways of sharing information, demonstrating digital leadership, and embedding a culture of working in the open wherever we can.

Our Radically Digital Stockport transformation programme is putting in place new tech, service design capabilities and working practices that keep our citizens at the heart of everything we do and deliver better value for money, helping us meet the challenges facing local government. It is a key enabler of the ambitions and priorities in the Stockport Council Plan. It also supports the collaborative One Stockport Borough Plan, which sets out the vision for Stockport for 2030, developed together with our partners, businesses, and communities in 2021.

Our digital programme uses data appropriately to understand Stockport and citizen needs better, solve problems, innovate, and create new services and capabilities. We have committed to sharing more data, increasing transparency, and supporting collaboration and innovation. We are introducing cross-organisation data-sharing innovations like the Family Context tool and Big Stockport Picture.

We are overhauling our digital architecture to address information and IT security risks and reduce system maintenance and downtime. We are increasing the interconnectivity of systems to improve services and collaboration and support the Smart City infrastructure rollout across Greater Manchester.

As we adopt new ways of working, we focus on listening closely to what our residents and businesses say and reshaping new services together. We are developing digital skills, practice and tools to support our colleagues to work effectively and flexibly. Our DigiKnow digital inclusion alliance is building resident digital skills and confidence so everyone can make the most of digital opportunities, making technology an enabler rather than a barrier.

We are still striving for continuous improvement. We recently participated in a Local Government Association (LGA) corporate peer challenge involving officer and councillor peers from other local authorities reviewing Stockport Council services and functions. The peer team was impressed by what they saw, especially our close work with local partners to enable, commission, and deliver high-performing services that meet the needs of the local population well. They also suggested areas where we could build on our success and make further improvements, and this valuable insight has informed the priorities outlined in our Council Plan.

There is always more to improve, but our commitment to continuing to learn, do better and put people at the heart of what we do remains.

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