District Council support for Local Digital Declaration

Posted on: Thursday, July 7, 2022

This month marks four years since the launch of the Local Digital Declaration. This is a shared ambition for the future of local public services and has been written by a collective of 45 local authorities, sector bodies and government departments.

Any public sector and non-profit organisation that is working to improve local services can join the movement by signing the Declaration.

Newark and Sherwood District Council signed the declaration in 2021 to use digital services to improve resident lives with the user at the heart of the design. It has been committed to working openly and collaboratively with local people, organisations and other public services to achieve its goal.

Thanks to funding from the Governments’ Local Digital Fund to implement the Local Digital Declaration, the District Council has invested in new digital technologies including their Repairs Online system. Repairs Online is a collaborative local authority project supported by Newark and Sherwood District Council, Southwark Council and City of Lincoln Council. The aim of the project team is to create a common service pattern for housing repairs that is designed around the needs of the customer. So far, an initial version has been completed and launched live with City of Lincoln Council with additional services currently being developed. It’s hoped the system will be live for Newark and Sherwood tenants by November 2022.

In addition, the Local Digital Declaration has enabled Newark and Sherwood District Council to focus on enhancements to its website and improvements to accessibility. This included making the website user friendly regardless of device and creating an easy to navigate platform.

The District Council also recently introduced MyNS, an online platform that allows residents to find out useful information in Newark and Sherwood which is tailored just for them.

For now, residents can see what day bin collections are, find out information about their specific Councillor (including how to contact them directly) and report common issues including missed bin collections and fly tipping as well as submitting street cleansing requests (including dog fouling).  This is only the start and the District Council will be expanding the service to help residents find the information they need to live a better, more hassle-free life in the district. 

To create an account, visit the MyNS webpage: https://myns.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/

Another of their new digital channels brought in thanks to the Local Digital Declaration principles is a new Webchat feature which increases the number of ways residents can communicate with their customer service team.  Instead of calling customer services, residents can now get the answers they want by simply going on the Newark and Sherwood District Council website and clicking on the ‘Chat now’ option in the top right of the page.  It will link them with the same team of people quickly and easily.

More organisations are starting to use the Webchat service for its user friendly capability and it’s fast becoming the standard method of communication between organisations and service users. This extra convenient channel means residents can use the feature with minimal disruption to their day, typing out a message quickly rather than needing to pick up the phone so they can continue to get on with their daily tasks.  

Councillor Keith Girling, Deputy Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Portfolio Holder for Organisational Development and Governance, said: ‘We want to make it easier for our residents to get the information they need in a quicker and more convenient way.

‘The digital services we’re now offering give our residents more choice on how they interact with us. Thanks to the Local Digital Declaration we’re able to provide our residents with digital services that help to make their lives easier.

‘We’re always looking for ways we can improve our service digitally to keep up with modern day technology and hope to introduce more benefits in our digital platforms in the coming years.’