Digital Lambeth

[This first appeared as a guest blogpost on the G-Cloud blog]

At Lambeth we are rebuilding our digital services. This is a key part of our strategy and our goal is to create a completely different online experience for our citizens. Not just providing clear, useful content and excellent transactional services, but also using our new website as a core part of changing the way we interact with citizens and sharing our data openly.

We’re moving fast thanks to a combination of a great team, an agile, delivery focused approach, an open source platform (Drupal) and learning from the excellent work that the Government Digital Service is sharing. You can follow our journey through our blog:

At the heart of this is our in-house team, which includes people who’ve got involved from our local community and through ‘hack day’ events which we’ve run together with a great group called Good For Nothing. But there are also some areas where we need specialist help, and we’ve just completed a purchase through G-Cloud to source Drupal expertise to help us build an online collaboration platform. We plan to use this as one of the ways that we’ll give local people the opportunity to get more closely involved with Lambeth’s work — from helping to shape our plans right through to actually working with us to help deliver excellent local services.

We’re moving really fast with the project and we want to get the first iteration of this part live by the beginning of March. G-Cloud has been the perfect way to buy the services we need to make this happen. The process of selection is simple, and we’ve found it very easy to short list suppliers, clarify where needed and then commit to buy quickly.

This is our second purchase through G-Cloud (the first was mobile device management — see my earlier post on this blog), and while we expect that we may have to use other procurement routes to meet some of our needs (we’ll judge each case by its merits) we are committed to using G-Cloud as the first place we look for cloud services, whether large or small.

To make this simple, we’ve worked closely with colleagues in our legal and procurement teams to update our local procurement rules so that they now fully recognise G-Cloud. By putting the effort in up front to complete this last autumn we’ve addressed all their questions and made sure that we can easily buy through the Cloudstore. I’ve been really pleased with the support we’ve had from our colleagues and we’ve also found the G-Cloud team extremely helpful in working through any concerns which might have caused problems.

Our positive experience so far makes us confident that G-Cloud will play a big part in our ambitious plans for the future.

Footnote: if you’re interested in getting involved with our exciting digital project we’d love to hear from you! In particular we’re recruiting for Drupal web developers, find out more here.