Cabinet members will welcome the progress made in delivering Digital Flintshire 2017-2022 and be asked to approve the refreshed Strategy 2021-2026 when they meet on Tuesday 13 July.
Flintshire is an ambitious Council and has already completed many of the objectives set out in the original Strategy. There have also been situations which have accelerated demand for and delivery of digital services – most significantly the heavy reliance on digital technology as a result of Covid-19.
Flintshire’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Assets, Councillor Billy Mullin, said:
“It is appropriate to review and revise the strategy at this time. We are proposing a revised draft of the Strategy which incorporates our learning, experiences, growth and ambition. It also features a separate theme with objectives to help reduce the exclusion that can be suffered without access to the skills, devices or connectivity needed to take advantage of digital services.”
The Council has made good progress in delivering the aims set out in the Digital Flintshire 2017-2022. Some of the achievements include:
- Improving customer service by updating the corporate website and expanding the range of services available to customers online;
- The introduction of a secure, personalised customer account, My Account;
- Collaborating with other authorities and partner organisations to deliver regional and national projects to improve service delivery;
- Working with the partners to improve broadband access throughout the region and engaging with rural communities to assess their requirements and provide support;
- Provision of a solid foundation for delivery of the curriculum to schools via the Welsh Government HWB programme, updating infrastructure and technology to agreed national standards.
The Council is now delivering many services in a different way and we need to refocus our ambitions and approach to delivering our duties and obligations.
Some examples of work undertaken throughout the pandemic and during recovery are as follows:
- Enabling remote learning by providing remote access solutions to schools;
- Supplying devices and mobile Wi-Fi units to digitally disadvantaged learners throughout Flintshire;
- Facilitating the continued delivery of key services by enabling employees to work from home;
- Providing additional digital services and solutions such as:
- New communication tools (e.g. video conferencing, WhatsApp)
- Online applications for services e.g. business rates relief, childcare offers, free school meals, keyworker applications, childcare applications for vulnerable children, recycling requests.
- Direct Covid response work including sending letters and communications to vulnerable, shielding residents and using our data services to help residents by mapping and providing information on essential local services like pharmacies, food banks, delivery and other support services;
- Supporting Test Trace Protect by developing systems, training, equipment and telephony.
The refreshed Digital Strategy for 2021-2026 will go out to consultation with user groups, before final sign off by the Chief Officer Governance and the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Assets.