Herefordshire as a rural sparse county creates a challenge of transport, isolation and serving dispersed populations – issues faced by many county level authorities.
From a fibre broadband footprint of 0.6% in 2012, 86% of the county premises now have access to superfast fibre broadband, and is due to increase through full fibre rollout (enabled through the Fastershire project run with Gloucestershire). We want to build on what we have currently achieved to make the most of this new network to increase engagement through digital channels and exploit technology to make engagement with services (across public sectors) as easy as possible.
The council has invested in digital communications, but we want to take a massive step further. The council has created a website (4 star SOCITM rating) and a web platform called WISH (wellbeing information and signposting for Herefordshire), but we are keen to expand these tools. We are keen that innovation enables residents to feel valuable partners in public services – both informed and informative (acting as the eyes and ears of the areas). This is to be balanced with using technologies to enable people and partners (e.g. parish councils) to self-serve through applications, website functionality, social networks etc.
- Feedback from current web-use
- Feedback from services when implementing service change using technology
- Supplier information on future features
- Engagement from parish councils
Key points are based on:
- Increased functionality on web platform
- Creating “app” feature for easy use
- Digital inclusion and awareness of opportunities
- Reduce jargon and targeted approach at particular age groups (e.g. young people)
- Create lean systems within services to match digital interface
- Introduction to user research
- Introduction to service design