Croydon pledges digital revamp to improve relations with public

Neil Williams, Croydon Council Chief digital officer. Pic: Croydon Council

Digital interactions between the public and Croydon Council are to be improved, the authority has promised.

The council has appointed its first chief digital officer and now signed a declaration pledging to improving residents’ needs through digital interaction.

The Local Digital Declaration  is a series of Government set commitments that will encourage authorities to work together on local projects in a new way with digital transformation. Croydon is the largest of the ten London boroughs to sign the Declaration.

It commits the council to ensuring services are designed and built with residents’ needs in mind and allowing them to have close involvement with a project.

The move follows the appointment by Croydon of its first chief digital officer, Neil Williams, former deputy director of the Government Digital Service and head of the website. Williams is also a Croydon resident.

Williams told Eastlondonlines: “Over time, all our existing digital services will be made simpler, clearer and faster to use. They will have a consistent design and user-experience…The aim is that the vast majority of interactions with the council will happen online, but with support available for those who need it, so we can deliver the best service possible.”

Williams continued: “Meanwhile, behind the scenes, we will improve internal systems so that we can be more responsive to residents’ needs. Residents will also be able to see the roadmap for all of these improvements and feedback on them.”

LDD is an initiative from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Government Digital Service. In signing the LDD, it will also open up opportunities with Croydon to bid for the MHCLG’s £7.5 million fund for digital transformation and potentially share technology with other local authorities.

Williams added: “Signing the LDD is entirely consistent with me and the leadership team’s vision for a more digital, user-centered Croydon Council. By adopting these principles in common with other local authorities, it connects us as a community so we can learn from each other, and go faster together.”

Councillor Simon Hall, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “We’re signing the Local Digital Declaration because we want to make it easier, quicker and more satisfying for all our residents, every time they interact with the council online – whether that’s to make a payment, or find their local library.”

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