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The Challenge

North Lanarkshire Council is the fourth largest Scottish local authority, located in west central Scotland, between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It provides a wide range of public services on behalf of its more than 330,000 residents, as well as businesses and visitors.

Against a backdrop of reduced funding and with limited resources, the Council set about improving the quality of its data as a first step towards designing a number of data-led services aimed at providing the public with better access to information and digital services.

The approach

The Council adopted a different way of working – viewing data as a valuable asset that influences the design of council processes, information architecture, and selection of required technologies.

The Solution

An innovative combination of data, processes and technologies was applied.

Data was analysed, with previously unavailable insights used to help deliver process improvements transforming how customers interact with the council.

The Open Data Institute, the Local Government Digital Office, the Improvement Service and the NHS NSS Local Intelligence Support Team along with suppliers including Squiz, Verint, UrbanTide, Wearesnook, and Civica collaborated on several projects.

A number of Open Data portal initiatives maximised the availability of open data. For example, the processing of business rates (previously a laborious process) was redesigned by the automatic creation of open data sets from mixed content data sets containing personal and other information – meaning these data sets (and the associated information) could be generated at the push of a button.

A customer portal was launched combining Verint’s citizen engagement solution with Squiz’s Matrix CMS and Enterprise Search; with integrations to the Scottish Improvement Service’s MyAccount Identity Provider, the Council’s VisionWare MultiVue master data management system, and its Civica Council Tax system. The portal provided customers with firstly, access to their council tax information followed by access to existing online services relating to pest control, graffiti, street lighting, and many other services.

The result
  • More accurate council data, with minimal errors and duplication.
  • Processing of Freedom of Information requests for business rates payments information reduced from 10 working days, to approximately ten minutes.
  • By recognising that non-sensitive data could be open to all Council staff, the document management system was streamlined allowing for faster and more efficient access to information.
  • Security has been simplified with an open by default design.

We want the portal to give customers the same experience they get from their favourite consumer portal. That means providing secure, flexible, personalised, and branded online access to public services.

Peter Tolland
Customer and Information Governance Manager, North Lanarkshire Council
Delivering citizen engagement in a digital first world
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