Casey's Digital Strategy | City of Casey
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1 October 2015

Casey's Digital Strategy

Version 1

Digital Casey is about

Better Services

  • Digital Casey will create better services for our customers by transforming them to be delivered through digital and digital assisted channels.
  • We will create services that are easy to use, meaningful and work effectively
  • The customer will play a central role in designing our services

Better Workplace

  • Digital Casey will make Council a better place to work by using technology to enhance what we do.
  • we will be an employer that believes in the capability of our people and gives them the right tools and systems to do their best.
  • We value and support innovation and ideas that come from our staff and our community.

Better Processes

  • Digital Casey will automate Council processes to make them run more efficiently
  • We will cut out manual steps and reduce the need for paper.
  • We will reduce the cost of our services, which means we will operate sustainably and do more for the community.

Better Economy

  • Digital Casey will create opportunities for entrepreneurs and existing businesses in the municipality.
  • Employers and investors will be attracted to Casey because of its digital reputation.
  • With our support, new businesses will start up in new economies that have arisen from digital disruption.

Mayor's Message

I am pleased to launch Digital Casey – the City of Casey’s digital strategy.

In 2015 we are witness to some exciting trends. We are seeing a push to be more agile, innovative and creative; the increasing availability of open data; the emerging digital economy; the ‘Internet of Things’ and the increasing reach of social media into our households.

At the City of Casey we are acutely aware of these trends and their impact. Customers are telling us they expect to be able to undertake their Council business online, at a time and through a device of their own choosing. Businesses in our municipality are looking to exploit the opportunities these trends provide. And there is a demand that we use technologies to find efficiencies in Council’s processes, increasing the value we provide from the rates we collect.

As a Council, we have an obligation to respond to these drivers. That is why we have developed Digital Casey – a transformative change program aimed at capitalising on digital opportunities.

Digital Casey is not a point-in-time strategy - it is a new way of operating at Council,

based on the principles that are outlined in this document.

Fundamental to the success of Digital Casey is a strong relationship between Council, the community and our stakeholders. We will be looking to people across the municipality to get involved and partner with us to shape this new era in Council service delivery.

Cr Sam Aziz

Mayor

City of Casey

5 November 2015

Principles

Digital Casey is more than a point-in-time strategy. It is about adopting new ways of thinking, operating and governing our business at Council.

There are seven underlying principles that will guide the ongoing establishment, development and management of Digital Casey.

Principle 1: Customer Focused Services

This principle is aligned to Council’s Customer Focus Strategy and its key actions.

Customers’ needs and expectations define and frame the range, nature, scope and style of services provided by their Council. Services are conceived, designed and executed from the customers’ viewpoints. Services are co-designed with customers who together generate content and decide how it is organised, written and presented.

Council only develops services for which there is evidence that it meets current or anticipated needs and expectations of customers and that align with the principles of Digital Casey and with the Council Plan.

Customers must be encouraged and given the means with which to work with their Council to define what information and services they want online and how they want to interact and transact with their Council.

What it looks like in practice:

  • Maintain an up-to-date understanding of its customers and their needs and expectations.
  • Develop and implement a process for co-designing, co-creating and testing services with its customers

Principle 2: Digital by default

Council’s services will be conceived and designed for delivery through digital channels as default. Where a service cannot be delivered completely via digital channels, its delivery will be supported by Council’s digital channels and solutions to the full extent possible.

Existing services that do not comply with the digital by default principle should be assessed to ensure that they comply with it and all the principles of Digital Casey and then converted to digital channels accordingly.

What it looks like in practice:

  • Current services need to be identified and prioritised for conversion to digital channels, commencing with high-volume transactional services.
  • Council must adopt a digital standard, whereby all new services are delivered wholly or substantially first and foremost through digital channels

Principle 3: Efficient & effective

Council’s digital channels and digital solutions are used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which customers and Council do business together.

The cost to customers and Council of doing business with each other increases the longer it takes for a transaction to be fulfilled, the more that transaction is conducted via non-digital channels and the less it is managed via by digital solutions.

Every time Council requires a customer to travel to a Council office, to wait in line at a customer service counter or to wait for a return phone call from Council, it costs the customer time and prevents them from doing more valued activities. Likewise for Council staff. The efficiency of a transaction is diminished every time they have to key in data provided by a customer, meet with a customer or respond to a phone call or process a form.

However, some services due to their nature must be transacted in part or wholly by non-digital channels. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the delivery and management of such services would, in almost every instance, be enhanced by use of digital technologies and solutions. For example, site visits by Council inspectors may be unavoidable because they are required by law, but they would be made more effective and efficient by the use of a tablet app that enables real-time data capture and processing.

What it looks like in practice:

Council must ensure that:

  • Digital projects that deliver measurable improvements to efficiency or effectiveness benefits are prioritised.
  • The Council's new website is easy to use and the information easy to find, understand and act upon.
  • Enabling digital technologies, such as customer relationship management solutions, content management solutions and data analysis solutions are appropriate and used by Council to maximise efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.

Principle 4: Innovation & opportunity

Council constantly assesses new and emerging digital trends, technologies and solutions and considers ways by which they can be leveraged to create new services, offer new means of community engagement or create more value. We imagine and create an environment in Council that encourages and enables staff and customers to respond to challenges quickly and effectively.

Before digitising existing services, Council uses innovation methodologies to re-engineer them for digital channels and consumption.

The culture of innovation (the pubic manifestation of which is Bunjil), and innovative use of digital technologies encourages innovation by local businesses and community groups.

What it looks like in practice:

Council must enable local innovation by supporting initiatives such as:

  • Creating Communities of Practice in such areas as digital innovation and smark communities.
  • Showing leadership by ensuring that public spaces in Casey, bunjil and Council's new office spaces employinnovative work space architecture, practices and technologies.
  • Publishing data sets to the community and interested parties.
  • Developing mechanisms for ideas (from Council staff and the Casey community) to be captured analysed and prioritised for action.

Principle 5: Adaptability to change

Council’s digital activities and channels keep pace with digital trends, digital technologies and innovation, and lifestyle and workplace trends, such that Council and its customers constantly receive the optimum benefits from engaging with the Digital Age.

Awareness of digital trends and having mechanisms to respond to them builds adaptability. Being able to anticipate likely dislocation and disruption in the social, economic and workplace environment means Council can minimise any potential harmful impacts of digital-led innovation and changes.

Keeping watch on digital-led disruption and having a method by which to respond to it builds resilience in Council and turns potentially negative impacts into opportunities.

What it looks like in practice:

  • Council must dedicate time and effort to research that ensures Council remains aware of local, national and global social, digital, economic, political and demographic trends and forecasts that may impact its customers, services, digital channels and its staff.
  • Council staff should be encouraged to take an active role in online communities of practice, participate in conferences and register for relevant mailing lists, blogs or Social media channels.
  • Council must encourage the community to learn about digital opportunities by publishing findings, sharing information and facilitating forums.

Principle 6: Smart community

Council embraces the concepts of a ‘smart community’ and of the growing reality of the ‘Internet of Things’, in order to optimise community engagement and decision making, enhance City efficiencies, reduce costs of managing Council’s assets and to create revenue opportunities for Council and local businesses - eg from capturing local data and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs in smart city technologies.

Managing the rapid growth of Casey’s population and the commensurate resourcing and cost implications, together with customers’ ever-expanding expectations of digital engagement and the growing ubiquity and power of digital technologies suggests that Casey would benefit from embracing smart city technologies and solutions.

Not all smart city solutions will be appropriate to Casey and its customers so Council adopts a targeted approach to implementing smart city initiatives.

What it looks like in practice:

Council must develop a 'smart communities' action plan to ensure its optimises its approach to and benefits from a smart community endeavour. This will address:

  • Expected benefits
  • The range of smart technologies appropriate to Council, including public WiFi, Internet enabled objects and devices, public digital infrastructure.
  • Potential partnerships and business models.
  • The resourcing and management implications and roadmap.

Council should continue to advocate for all residents to receive a high speed broadband service.

Principle 7: A connected Casey

Council understands that the value in Social Media is to have a rich engagement with the community.

That’s why Council opens up digital technologies, digital channels (including social media) and data analysis to the community, and partners with community members to better understand their needs and to socialise Council’s services, vision and plans.

Council also performs the role of facilitator - providing digital channels and applications that connect members of the community and enable them to engage with each other.

Council staff are encouraged to engage with Social Media in a personal and professional sense. They use these tools to build networks, to learn and to keep pace with trends in their relevant area of responsibility.

What it looks like in practice:

Council should support residents and businesses to build their capability to use social media and digital platforms:

  • Council's communications and social media activity should promote digital channels.
  • The use of digital channels and social media needs to be appropriately resourced monitored and reviewed. This is particularly important as social media becomes a valid customer service channel.
  • Given the rapid change in this area, Council should regularly review its social media policy to make sure it keeps pace with risks and opportunities as they emerge.

How

Creating Digital Casey requires attention and commitment across several streams of work.

Each of these are equally important to the overall success of Digital Casey.

Customer focus

Through the mechanisms outlined in the Customer Focus strategy Council must continue to gather, analyse and interpret custome r needs and trends.

The Council’s Customer Focus Strategy provides the principles and rationale for ensuring that Council is customer-focussed in all that it does, including the activities undertaken under the Digital Casey strategy.

Through service design, customer insights should inform each stage including:

  • Identifying service gaps and opportunities
  • Undertaking service design
  • Testing prototypes and beta versions of digital services
  • Providing feedback on services post-release

Culture & change management

Digital Casey requires leaders and Council staff to think differently, to get comfortable with change and ambiguity and to continue to build their digital skills.

Digital transformation will be disruptive. The digital team and the departments they partner with must be supported to dedicate time and effort to change management activities as this disruption needs to be managed in a structured, well planned manner.

This structured approach must include regular two-way communications, through various channels, on the projects currently underway and their impacts on staff and the community. The digital team must be visible and available to discuss their work with interested and effected Council staff and stakeholders as required.

Where transformation requires Council staff to change there must be appropriate support mechanisms in place including training, coaching and regular opportunities to raise and resolve concerns.

Innovation

Council has an obligation to deliver services that generate the maximum value for the community at the lowest possible cost. Therefore Council has an obligation to continually look out for new and disruptive digital innovations that can improve efficiency or effectiveness.

Digital Casey will encourage and foster innovation. It will open up opportunities for Council staff and members of the community to partner in proposing and testing new ideas and developing solutions.

Council will need to:

  • Adopt a process for designing and transforming services - focusing in particular on high-volume transactional services.
  • Adopt a means for innovation - through which Council staff and customers can submit ideas for service design and service transformation.
  • Create a digital 'sand-box' - in which staff can easily and with minimal red-tape, trial such things as new mobile apps, digital technologies or new customer engagement online tools.

Accessible, easy to use & high quality digital channels

The digital channels used by Council must be so easy to use and easily accessible from anywhere, anytime and on any device of the customer’s choice that they prefer to use the digital channels over other non-digital channels.

Each element of the digital channel must be designed to be effective and meet the needs of the user. These elements include:

  • Content - must be succinct, easy to understand and accurate
  • User experience - should be simple and engaging
  • Graphic design - must align with Council's brand and be appealing to the user
  • The 'Back-end' process and workflows - must work smoothly and quickly, preferably without further staff or customer intervention.
  • The response and notifications the customer receives - should be immediate and keep the customer informed.
  • Connections with other services - should be seamless.

To ensure Council’s digital channels always remain customers’ preferred channel by which to do business with their Council, the digital channels must comply with international best-practice standards for websites, apps and mobile devices covering these main areas:

  • Accessibility - must comply with WCAG 2.0 guidelines
  • Style - the content must be well written and easy to understand (and available in languages other than English)
  • Page design, layout and navigation - must be simple and consistent
  • Information -must be accurate and regularly updated
  • Architecture - Aligned to Council's IT Operating Model

Maintaining best-practice standards will require appropriate budget allocation, staffing, training, resourcing and policies and procedures covering the day-to-day management of the channels.

Digital transformation

Digital Casey will transform services that have been delivered wholly or in part via non-digital channels, to services that can be digital channels.

However, in converting them to Council’s digital channels, a transformation will occur: the existing services will be re-imagined and repackaged as digital services to align with the needs of online customers and to fully utilise digital channels and technologies. Simply digitising existing services and delivering them through digital channels is unlikely to capture all the benefits of digital services. The aspiration is for digital transformation, not mere transition of the same services from traditional channels to digital channels.

The Federal Government’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO) has released a Digital Service Standard as the benchmark for designing Australian Government digital services – Council should align its approach to the criteria in the DTO standard, as this would open up the possibility of integrating services across tiers of government over time.

Integrating business systems & technologies

The sustained integration and complementarity of Council’s business systems and information communication technologies (ICT) systems is crucial to the success of Digital Casey. ICT is an enabler and supporter of business processes and may therefore be regarded as having a reactive, rather than proactive, relationship with the business systems. However, business systems need to be mindful of and tailored to the opportunities and challenges of the ICT landscape within Council and external to it.

Both business and ICT systems have to work in unison to meet customers’ expectations and needs, to make it easy for them to do business with Council and to enable the efficiency and effectiveness benefits that Digital Casey seeks to deliver.

Sensible partnerships

There are 79 Local Government bodies across Victoria, many of whom are developing or have recently developed a digital strate gy. Given there are many consistencies in the services, IT platforms, and challenges faced by these Councils it is sensible to partner across jurisdictions to share the resources required in digital transformation.

Being a growth Council with a large population Casey would be an attractive partner to other Councils, as the population provides a larger scale to drive down cost. Partnerships with businesses, education institutions and community groups can also introduce fresh ideas, different skills and alternative perspectives. These attributes can be highly valuable when engaging in service design or transformation.

Measures

Better…

Customer experience

Information that is easy to find, understand and act on

Insights into customer behaviour and preferences Consistency of service

Evidence-based decision making and customer engagement is service design

Staff experience

More…

Customer choice

Staff time to respond to complex, high-needs customers

Automation in Council processes

Time for Council to be strategic and innovative Opportunities for start-ups, investors and existing

businesses in Casey to gain advantages from digital

Shorter…

Response times to resolve customer queries Time to make decisions and realise outcomes

Wait times at Customer Service centres and on

the phone

Fewer…

Administrative tasks

Red-tape and barriers to customers doing business with Council

Paper based and manual processes

Cost to conduct transactions and run services Numbers of customers visiting us and calling us

for services that can be done online

The implementation of Digital Casey will be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure it is on track

The method for measuring success and reporting will be established for each action as they are undertaken

Definitions

Council

Casey City Council, being a body corporate constituted as a municipal Council under the Local Government Act 1989

Councillors

the individuals holding the office of a member of Casey City Council

Council staff

the Chief Executive Officer and staff of Council appointed by the Chief Executive Officer.

Customers

an individual, business or organisation that utilises the services of Council.

Channels

the ways customers can contact Council (e.g. web, email, phone, face-to-face, letter, social media)

Digital Transformation Office

The Australian Government body tasked with transforming Federal government services

ICT

Information Communications Technology – the technologies and systems that Council uses to conduct business

Services

Activities conducted by Council for the benefit of the community

Social Media

an application that allows users to share content via the internet

Digital Transformation

the act of designing or redesigning services to be conducted through digital channels

Council policy documents change from time to time and it is recommended that you consult the electronic reference copy at www.casey.vic.gov.au/policiesstrategies to ensure that you have the current version. Alternatively you may contact Customer Service on 9705 5200. 

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