Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet has approved the adoption of the Customer Services, IT and Digital Strategy 2022. It sets out how we will develop our services digitally and inspire confidence in our digital services, making them accessible to all and enabling us to deliver outstanding customer services.
By supporting digital transition and technical advances we can promote more effective service delivery. Ashford’s first digital strategy was adopted in 2017 and aimed to improve online services and make the way we worked more efficient.
The previous digital strategy had an ambitious action plan that has helped to refocus the whole organisation on how we can deliver our services more efficiently and provide better choice for our residents using digital tools.
The updated Digital Strategy underpins the core principles of the Corporate Plan to:
- Understand and respond to the needs of our communities to ensure no one is disadvantaged
- Put our residents at the heart of everything we do and ensure our services are accessible.
It sets out our approach in putting technology at the forefront of our journey to put the customers, residents and local businesses at the centre of the services we provide.
The first strategy focused on four key areas of work: our redesigned website, moving more transactions online, and rolling out Microsoft 365. We also now have our design principles which summaries how we approach service delivery.
We’ve seen a 45% increase in visits to our website since the previous strategy was in place, and 82% reduction in face to face visitors, obviously Covid playing a major part in this, but also customers changing the way they access our services.
The new strategy has five key strands:
- Residents & Local Businesses first
- Collaborate with partner groups to improve digital skills and inclusion
- Make better use of data
- Give staff the tools/skills needed to carry out their jobs safely, effectively and efficiently
- Create a modern, secure and integrated solutions and infrastructure.
Our residents expect that they should be able to transact with us online, as they can elsewhere, however there are residents that cannot or will not transact online and we need have resources available to help them. This strategy will help us achieve both goals.