Lancaster City Council

City, Coast & Countryside – part of the iLancaster app

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/ service

City, Coast & Countryside, part of the iLancaster app, is the product of an innovative partnership between Lancaster City Council and Lancaster University. Using the university’s established iLancaster student and staff app as a development platform, we designed and delivered City, Coast & Countryside – a profile for residents and visitors to our district based around our most frequently used online resources. Features include a bin app with alerts, travel hub with real time bus, train and parking information, visitor guides and an events scheduler. To promote the app, and to enhance digital access and engagement, we also provided three free Wi-Fi access points at key visitor locations (when users register for the Wi-Fi, they are sent a link to download the app). City, Coast & Countryside has acquired 5400 users since 1 August 2016.

City, Coast & Countryside is available in iOS, Android and web-based versions at m.lancaster.ac.uk/ccc

Why do you think it should win this award?

Although we have a modern, responsive website, usage has plateaued in recent months and we are aware that an increasing proportion of digital users prefer to engage via an app rather than a traditional corporate website. Unfortunately we don’t have the necessary technological and financial resources to do this ourselves.

We met with Lancaster University to explore the potential for digital engagement and collaboration and an immediate possibility emerged. Using the university’s established iLancaster app as a development platform, we designed and delivered City, Coast & Countryside – a profile for residents and visitors to our district based around our most used online resources.

For a very modest investment (we each provided £10,000 to fund the project) we produced an engaging and sustainable interface to council services and visitor information. The university provided the ‘tech’ and we supplied our datasets for online service delivery, and provided the Wi-Fi infrastructure.

We have now begun a second phase of development to add immersive digital tours of historic Lancaster, and to create an app for the 40-venue Lancaster Music Festival in October.

What are the key achievements?

• Developed and launched the free City, Coast & Countryside profile in the iLancaster app
• A bright, sustainable, modern and engaging interface to council services
• Provided free Wi-Fi access points at key visitor locations
• Innovative app-based delivery of council services and data (including a fully-featured bin collection app)
• Improved digital engagement – 5400 new users since 1 August 2016
• Installed a large touchscreen version of the app in our customer service centre for public use
• Provided real life paid work experience for Lancaster University students
• Fostered links between the council, university and the broader Lancaster community through joint ‘Campus in the City’ engagement events

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