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Digital Strategy

Sunderland City Council Digital Strategy

We have created a digital strategy to:

  • Improve how you can engage with us online
  • Transform access and connectivity across the city
  • Provide new, efficient ways of working

The strategy follows some key principles, to make sure it delivers excellent customer service:

  • Accessibility
    We know there's not always a one size fits all approach. We will continue to provide and develop a range of ways to contact us to allow choice and convenience. We'll make sure we don't exclude or unfairly disadvantage anybody. We will use research to find out why particular channels are or aren't used. We will continue to develop channels to improve accessibility.
  • Consistency
    However you contact us, the experience should always be the same. We want you to feel reassured when dealing with the council, whether that is in person, by telephone or online.
  • High quality
    The way we deal with you any time you contact us should be efficient and courteous. Wherever possible we should meet your needs the first time you contact us. This could be by answering your query when you call or providing the right information on our website that is easy to find.
  • Value for money
    The way we interact with you should provide value for money. Providing straightforward and convenient ways of using services online can also offer cost savings.

Making it simple to access information online and use self serve tools where possible will let us offer more specialist and tailored advice to those who need it.

The strategy focuses on three main themes:

Digital city

Sunderland is a city where we feel proud, passionate and inspired. We value our people and our people value their city.

Sunderland's smart city vision is one of an engaged collective of people, places and opportunities. Opportunities to live, learn and earn - to grow as individuals and as successful businesses.

Our smart city plan connects people to places a decade of social and digital transformation will accelerate city-wide improvements for generations to come.

For more information please visit the Smart Cities website

Digital council

The City Plan approved by full council in November 2019 is clear about what we need to do to achieve our bold and ambitious vision to create a connected, international city by 2030 with opportunities for all our residents.

How our IT services and systems will underpin this journey is referenced in our IT strategy. Our IT strategy looks at:

  • Supporting the delivery of the City Plan and its key priorities
  • The changing business needs including the shift to digital, requirements for a more mobile workforce, building more opportunities for external and internal collaboration and compliance
  • The developing technologies that can support this including keeping our hardware and software up to date, maintaining security, and looking into new technological advancements

Digital customer

Where we are now

In 2021, we had 2.3 million visitors to our website, an increase on the previous years traffic

The number of visitors to our website that used a mobile device to reach our content was over 75% in 2021, a significant increase on previous years.

Over 1.5 million requests and reports were submitted to the Council in 2021,  55% of these were made by customers online.

Over the past years, the website has grown with new digital channels for some services such as waste permits, parking permits and school admissions. But we know that some areas of the council have little or no digital offer and there are some inconsistencies across the different sites and systems we use.

We have a excellent level of compliance with accessibility standards.

Where we want to be

Customer at the centre of digital change

Our website, content and digital services are being redesigned with user at the centre of digital change.

We will listen to feedback from all our users and carry out research to ensure our content and services are accessible and usable by all.

We have a personalised account service to tailor customers interactions with us. We will deliver an improved version of our account service to enhance the experience users have of interacting with the Council.

 

Increase the number and quality of digital services

All council services will be available online. Existing services will be redesigned to make them so easy to use they will be chosen over other options.

Digital services and website designed for all devices

In 2021, over 75% of visitors to our website used a mobile device or a tablet to access our online content and digital services

Our website and digital journeys will be redesigned and built to offer a consistent experience regardless of the device you use to interact with the council.

 

Digital services accessible to all

We will redesign  and rewrite the content across our website to make it accessible to all residents.

Our digital services will be redesigned to ensure they meet accessibility standards and are intuitive and easy to use.

 

Digital services and content has a consistent design pattern

Our website and digital services will have a consistent design, branding and tone of voice to let you know you are dealing with the council as a trusted website.

Assisted digital and alternative channels for those who need it

Our ambition is to create digital content and services that are so easy to use that residents will prefer to use them over other channels.

However, we will offer assistance to all residents who need support both digitally and by telephone.  We also have alternative channels available to anyone who needs more help.

 

How we will get there

Our priorities for 2022

By June 2022 we will:

  • Review and improve the customer journeys for Local Environmental Services requests, improving the experience for residents and service delivery teams.
  • Review and improve the customer journeys for Highways, Traffic Lights, Drains and Complaints and Feedback.
  • Launch a personalised My Account service for residents.
  • Reduce the number of times residents need to report things to the Council by promoting a 'Life Events' approach for changing address and reporting a death
  • Fully compliant with the Web Content and Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1)

Between July and December 2022 we will:

  • Develop and launch an App to make accessing Council Services easier for residents
  • Redesign and improve customer journeys for Public Protection and Regulatory Services
  • Review and improve the customer journeys for Refuse and Recycling requests, improving the experience for residents and service delivery teams
  • Enhance the My Account experience for residents, giving easy access to bin collection information and services local to the resident

Digital services usage and volumes

Digital metricVolume / percentage
Number of My Account registrations 8048
Percentage of digital requests for service received (April 2022)57%
Number of staff using digital platform470
Number of service requests received digitally that would have been printed off11300
Amount saved by not printing off paper job tickets£2400
Percentage of payments made online or self service71%

 

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