The Digital Barnsley - 2021 Onwards Strategy outlines our ambition of creating a digital town, enriching the lives of citizens with modern, simple digital experiences and acting as a beacon for high value business investment and employment.
Barnsley’s future is exciting with a comprehensive programme of development well underway which will transform not only the physical town centre but also our customers’ digital experience of council services.
Our digital journey has increased in speed over recent years, with highlights including:
- Modernisation of our organisational infrastructure and applications providing a solid base for future development.
- Customers now choosing to access over 70% of available transactions online as opposed to over the phone or face to face.
- Flagship buildings like Library @ the Lightbox, The Glass Works, DMC02, The Seam Digital Campus and our cultural offerings providing leading edge digital solutions throughout the COVID-19 crisis, keeping our engagement with citizens alive despite not being able to offer a physical outlet.
- An improving reputation as a place in the sector, reinforced by initiatives like IoT Tribe and participation in the Local Digital Declaration, as well as winning national awards for our digital change programmes, security posture, commercial initiatives, workforce and our strong inspirational leadership.
- A fully agile workforce enables us to provide quality and responsive services for all our customers.
- The foundations of an enterprise application platform to ensure modern provision of vital core services to the council.
Responding to the pandemic
The council’s response to the pandemic situation through 2020/21 has shown the value of new ways of working by exploiting technology to preserve as many of our services as possible, finding new ways of using data to identify vulnerable citizens, and empowering our workforce to be truly agile. There has been a pivotal change in the way the organisation embraces technology which the strategy must seek to build on.
We are using data more than ever to inform decisions, with our nationally recognised work on identifying the vulnerable featuring heavily. This has brought organisational recognition that data is a valuable asset. We must seek to build on this through delivering the strategic outcome 'data driven decisions'.
Our success in remote working means we have made a step change in the way we work which was already under consideration though our smart working initiative. Developing the theme for a post-pandemic world will release cash efficiencies and make the council much more attractive to potential employees who are used to working in this way. The strengthening of our presence in Principal Towns through modern work hubs can bring similar benefits, and a reduction in office space can contribute to our zero carbon goals through significantly reduced travel.
While we have achieved much in recent years, the pace of change is unrelenting. The COVID-19 crisis has reaffirmed the importance of digital in a world where the workforce is increasingly and necessarily dispersed, and the speed of change is increasing. We have a simple vision for Barnsley as a place:
Barnsley is a connected, smart town with a culture of innovation, collaboration and strong digital leadership.
The Barnsley 2030 plan communicates our aspiration to be leading in providing ‘a good life for all’. The digital strategy helps in delivering all four main areas identified within the 2030 plan:
Find out more information about Barnsley 2030.
A digitally connected region
The importance of a digitally connected region is recognised both in the SCR Strategic Economic Plan and the emerging refreshed digital strategy.
Barnsley continues to heavily influence this agenda across the city region with The Seam – Digital Campus being recognised within the economic blueprint work, delivery of regional sector growth activity through interventions such as Digital Innovation Grants and the provision of digital infrastructure through the Superfast South Yorkshire Programme.
The work that we have undertaken to establish a Digital Barnsley has enabled the town to strongly influence and shape current and future emerging SCR Digital Strategy.
We're working towards our vision and enhancing our contribution to the 2030 plan via a simple yet ambitious set of outcomes, supported by SMART objectives.
Learn more about our objectives, how we plan to deliver them and how achieving them will benefit our residents, partners and businesses.
Digital Barnsley outcomes
- Digital by choice
- Data-driven decisions
- A growing digital economy
- A connected town
The council’s leadership team have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that Digital Barnsley can come to life, through embedding digital in all plans and programmes.
At a strategic level, the senior management team will consider all aspects of the council’s digital delivery plans and ensure they fit the Digital Barnsley strategy. To monitor and challenge the progress, we’re making against the programme outlined, the digital leadership team will be refreshed and report directly to senior management.
Delivering our outcomes
Some examples of how achieving our objectives and outcomes will benefit our residents, partners and businesses are:
- Supporting our children’s service
We'll continue to support our children’s services to adapt to new ways of working including face to face meetings, gathering feedback and carrying out virtual reviews.
Our workforce and families are becoming more confident with this approach which is in turn building digital skills across the borough, contributing to tackling digital exclusion and building skills for the future.
- The internet of things (IoT)
The internet of things is a network of physical things often embedded with sensors which exist to connect and exchange data with other ‘things’. This has started to make a difference in our home lives – smart meters are an example where your gas and electricity usage and habits are not only fed to your provider for billing purposes but can also help you manage your bills.
We’ll use this technology to make significant changes and improvements to services but it can also make this data available to everyone to make a step change in the way we use data.
- Process automation and bots
Process automation and bots exist to remove human intervention from repetitive, system based tasks, for example inputting data from one system to another, interacting with customers for simple transactions over webchat, or even scanning documents for certain information to pass to a customer record.
By implementing a programme of process automation coupled with the use of bots we'll enable appropriate services to free capacity which can be used to carry out service improvements.
- Innovation and growing the digital economy
By fostering innovative approaches, Barnsley can become recognised as a digital frontrunner, and attract inward investment and talent migration.
Our DMC and Seam programmes will continue to help grow new digital business, and where opportunities arise the council can benefit from innovation, for example by presenting IoT Tribe start-ups with our own wicked issues.
Supporting our residents
Our digital champions have supported many residents across the borough to access services online. Learn more by viewing the video below.
Read the full Digital Barnsley - 2021 Onwards Strategy.