Essex County Council identifies four digital priorities

Digital roadmap also includes plan for new approach by corporate development teams

Essex County Council is to focus its digital efforts on social care, its website and overall capabilities over the next few months.

It has outlined the priorities in a new digital roadmap for 2017-18, along with a plan for its corporate development teams to focus more on internet capabilities.

The document identifies four initial priorities for the period up to April of next year: assessing what is possible for its social care case management software; developing and testing new digital approaches for adult social; assessing the future look of its website, essex.gov.uk; and building the organisation’s digital capabilities and policies.

It acknowledges that there is plenty to be done in other areas but says it has limited resources and needs to focus on a handful of priorities.

It adds that the council will provide support and coaching to staff outside these areas to build its capacity.

Team redesign

This is accompanied by the plan to redesign the corporate development teams “to put the culture and practices of the internet age at the heart of what we do”, and for them to devote 10% of their time to supporting communities of practice.

“We aspire to support anyone who has an interest in any element of digital working,” it says.

It provides an example of team including a service manager, delivery manager, user researcher, technical architect, service designer and a developer.

The move marks a progression of the council’s Smart Essex programme, which was launched early in the year by its chief information officer David Wilde and lead member for the programme Stephen Canning. They indicated at the time that the council aimed to publish a fully formed strategy at a later date.

Jason KitcatJason Kitkat (pictured), the council’s executive director for corporate development, said: “As we've continued our journey of learning and exploring we've continued to refine our work in this area. We're now at a point where we've rolled the smart themes into our core organisational strategy and planning.”

He added that it is closing its Smart Essex online presence but will continue to share its thinking through its regular website.