Digital led recovery from COVID-19 meeting title slide

Digital Led Recovery from COVID-19

It was great to see so many of our partners at the first virtual Kent Customer Service Group Meeting on 8th July. Three local authorities shared with us some of their digital responses to COVID-19. We then discussed some of the challenges and opportunities we are now facing.

Local authorities digital responses to COVID-19

Ian Hirst, Head of Digital Services & Communications at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council shared the work they have done to create Tunbridge Wells Social. This new site offers entertainment for all ages, tips and workshops for healthy living, and helpful information on where to get support. It has helped to establish an online sense of community and tackle social isolation and loneliness.

TWBC Social Website Image

Ben Robinson, Customer Service and Digital Project Manager at Ashford Borough Council spoke about how they quickly managed to get 350 staff working from home. He explained how they mobilised staff to support residents on shielded lists and made decisions based on data and maps of where resources were most needed and when support could be stood down.

Coronavirus support poster showing contact number 01233 331111 and website link to page

Catherine Iles, Head of Digital at Medway Council explained all the changes they made to their website to ensure important information was getting out to residents and businesses. During lock down unique page views were up 113.06% compared to the same period last year. Most of these were to coronavirus pages offering guidance and support as well as information on services changes.

Coronavirus page on Medway Council Website

Challenges and Opportunities

Following these presentations, we discussed several challenges and opportunities including:

  • Maintaining the customer shift to digital channels
  • How to avoid returning to cash payments
  • Future operating models with majority of staff working from home
  • Different performance management policies needed for home working
  • Training staff remotely
  • Maintaining member engagement with and use of digital channels
  • How to keep up the digital momentum within service areas

Future Meetings

We agreed it would be helpful to meet again in a month or so to discuss some of the challenges and possible solutions in more detail.

If you would like to join future meetings or if you have any specific topics you would like to discuss at these meeting please do get in touch.