We have been reflecting recently on what Digital means in Stockport. What does it mean for us as a Borough, as an organisation and as a team, and what does it mean in the context of our emerging One Stockport aspirations?
When we signed the Local Digital Declaration in 2018 we committed to working openly and collaboratively with local people, organisations and other public services. We’ve shared each step of our digital transformation journey through this blog, laying out our challenges, sharing learning opportunities as well as describing our milestones and successes.
We’ve been collaborating with our residents, co-designing new services around the needs of people. We’ve introduced service design capability to our organisation. We’ve worked with community groups – shaping together new services (including those responding to Covid) and how we work together to support the sector. And our digital inclusion programme underlines our commitment to making technology an enabler rather than a barrier.
We’ve also hosted a number of Open Days, where other local authorities and public bodies were invited to our offices to see what we have done and how we are doing it. These were an opportunity to share our learnings, to avoid the need for other local authorities to ‘reinvent the wheel’ but also to identify potential opportunities to collaborate in the future. We’ve also attended other Open Days and taken part in communities of practices. This is one of the key principles of the Local Digital Declaration.
We’ve collaborated with MHCLG, Greater Manchester, Open Data Manchester, the Local Government Association’s Social Care Digital Innovation Programme (SCDIP), Essex County Council, Good Things Foundation, Leeds City Council, DataMill North, and Stockport schools.
Through Stockport Council’s digital transformation programme we have put in place new tech and new working practices that have reshaped the way we deliver council services over the past four years. These past few months have demonstrated the critical value of both the digital technologies and our changing culture in creating the right conditions to enable the many facets of the council’s response to Covid-19.
Central to our response has been keeping our citizens at the heart of everything we do; building relationships, open and honest two-way communication and always learning, are so important to making this a reality. We have listened closely to what our residents and businesses have been saying, whilst also keeping them updated on changes to services, using email, social media and our website.
Our work isn’t finished, and there is always more for us to learn from and improve, but our commitment to continuing to learn, do better and put people at the heart of what we do remains – embedded within One Stockport – and on a personal level is what excites and energises me about the months and years ahead.