North Yorkshire County Council


Digital Product Team

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

As part of NYCC’s Digital and Customer strategy, it was agreed early that we would look to manage customer online interactions in one place, in a consistent manner. This was to achieve the key objective we set of moving 70% of transactions online. It was decided that we would invest in building our own digital products/capability internally, using open source platform and open integration. We have a Digital Product team consisting of developers and a UX lead, who produce, enhance and maintain our core portal product. Across the 3 instances we currently have, it manages around 2500 Citizen service requests, 2000 Commercial Transactions and 100 partner requests on a monthly basis. As the system is integrated to the backend systems, the majority of these requests are going directly to the teams that need to complete the request e.g. highways teams, Care and support team.

What are the key achievements?

The product management model we have adopted has allowed us to continually improve the core product offer, across a number of existing services, whilst launching new services alongside this. As we have used the approach of building reuseable components like ‘report’, ‘book’, ‘pay’, ‘assess’, we have targeted services that use these elements, making each service launch easier to build, with opportunities to improve the product as a whole. This has significantly reduced the overall investment needed than if we were doing these as services individually. In terms of achieving initial objectives, we are currently at 58% online for the services we have reengineered and launched into the portal. It has been very easy to replicate our customer portal, with an instance being used by schoo ls for our traded services and an instance for our parish councils being used currently for our highway services with opportunities to expand this further to support our district councils deliver service. In addition, we have built a dashboard using Power BI tools which not only tracks customer numbers, but allows us to track personas, which has really helped us challenge misconceptions that only certain age/types of customers use online product

What are the key learning points?

The key achievement has been our focus on reusable components like make a booking and make a payment, which has made it easy to bring new services in and has also allowed us to improve key areas customers were struggling with i.e. we are currently looking to improve our evidence upload process, which is used for bus passes and our new Blue badge service. Difficulties working with 3rd parties in terms of their experience using open API’s- as not many other authorities are working in this way, we have had difficulties both with appetite and capability for suppliers to work with us using open API’s. Some ongoing challenges adopting an agile and product management approach in a very waterfall/business case organization- were still not there and still working this up but this requires a significant culture change and buy in at senior level, to different ways of working. Use of Google Analytics and Google data studio data has been really beneficial, enabling us to understand more about what our customers are experiencing, what they are struggling with, what they like and what they use most often challenge with the business to drive more online take up- risk averse- Struggle to set more challenging targets.