Strategy document

Digital Strategy 2022-2025

Published 10 February 2022

Workstream 1: Provide simple, accessible, end-to-end services that are easy to use and based around users’ needs

People expect Council services to be online, easy to find and simple to use on the device of their choice. Services should be digital by default, and meet the highest accessibility standards, with support through traditional channels for those unable or unwilling to use them.

We will design services around the needs of the user and not just the back office. We will do the hard work as part of designing the process to make it simple so customers only do the minimum necessary to achieve the outcome they need in the most cost effective way possible.

We must be channel agnostic, understanding that being digital extends beyond a set of online processes on a website, to ensure people can access our services through the channel of their choice.

People will increasingly access information and services on platforms other than maidstone.gov.uk. This might be directly through search engines or voice assistants. We want to make sure that we structure our content so it can be accessed through those different channels.

The intended outcomes for this workstream are:

  • More services are online with more residents and businesses choosing to use them.
  • Services are simple, seamless and end to end, and designed around users' needs so they get what they want first time and without multiple touch points or needing to ask for help
  • The Council’s website is always available and the information on there is accurate, up to date and easy to find
  • Our online services and information are easier to find and use and meet the highest accessibility standards.
  • Our services are value for money and available through a wider range of channels that better reflect customer expectation and latest technology innovations
  • We provide greater value for money services by taking advantage of more shared or open-source government platforms and products

To achieve this we will:

  • Improve the availability of maidstone.gov.uk and sub-domains by moving them to the cloud
  • Introduce ways of further improving the accessibility of maidstone.gov.uk and the Council’s other websites
  • Introduce methods of increasing the accuracy of maidstone.gov.uk contents including the use of automated, time-based prompts for content review
  • Take opportunities, like the re-procurement of a major contract or the launch of a round of funding from central government, to improve end to end digital services, working with partners as required
  • Build on our Agile and Service Design methods to include Product Management principles to enable continuous development throughout the lifecycle of our digital products and services
  • Use data and insights to create a prioritised action list to improve the usability of our existing digital services, focusing initially on any areas of poor resident experience
  • Explore different channels for customer contact, including web chat, automated web chat and voice assistants to ensure we are ready to use them when necessary to meet the changing needs of residents
  • Explore using structured data markup schema.org to improve and expand the availability of services and information beyond maidstone.gov.uk, making content available directly in other platforms such as search engine results and google assistant
  • Harness the power of automation in customer services delivery, including voice automation, to reduce the administrative burden and improve services to customers
  • Set out the roadmap to adopting and expanding the use of more shared and open-source platforms and systems, including LocalGov Drupal, Gov Notify and GovPay
  • Review how to make the best use of customer accounts to improve the customer experience
  • Continue to reduce the use of paper, postage and unstructured emails in our interactions with customers
  • Ensure that any new technologies, including artificial intelligence and process automation, are incorporated into processes in the right way, through end-to-end service design.