Agenda item

Accessibility of Council Digital Services Scrutiny Commission - Action Plan Update

(All wards)

 

Contact for information: Matt Cooper, Senior ICT Manager (Client Services), Customer Services and ICT; 0207 926 3149, mcooper2@lambeth.gov.uk

Minutes:

Councillor Jim Dickson, Cabinet Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships & Community Safety (Job Share), introduced the report by making the following the following points:

·         He welcomed that the Action Plan was again being considered by the Committee because:

1.    As further services by the Council were being digitalised, there was a need to ensure that access and inclusion for residents was correct;

2.    The recommendations made from the scrutiny commission had proved useful and provided assistance when the Council’s new Digital Strategy had been formed. 

3.    During the past 18 months the Council worked hard to provide adequate training and ensure microsites were removed, to guarantee that those remaining sites adhered with the new Digital Strategy.  Also, ensuring that IT equipment placed in Lambeth’s libraries and the Customer Service Centre, be tested to ensure Members were satisfied and he welcomed feedback on that aspect. 

 

The Senior IT Manager for Client Services, highlighted that:

·         He echoed the points made by Councillor Dickson.

·         He paid tribute to Commission Members past and present, and Gary O’Key, for their contributions and hard work.

·         Although improvements to digital services were ongoing, the Council were in a better place to move forward.

 

The Chair invited Members to raise any issues and in response, the following matters were highlighted:

·         The Council’s website appeared to be unsuitable for some residents despite having a Digital Strategy.  It was suggested that the Council’s website should be more easily accessible for residents similar to the gov.uk website. 

·         Some residents preferred not to use MyLambeth to access their information, to prevent junk emails being received.

·         There was a need to consider data protection for people using the website.

·         Access to the website for residents that did not speak English should be considered to ensure they received digital services.

 

The Senior IT Manager for Client Services, responded to the points raised as follows:

·         He appreciated that residents received numerous junk emails as a result of accessing MyLambeth.  This had occurred as a result of a new tool being installed that allowed users to self-select content.

·         The MyLambeth account provided residents with secure and flexible access to their information and data protection regulations had been complied with.  The updated module, expected within a few years, would ensure sign-in was restricted solely to accessing services.  This would ensure materials relating to the Council are segregated and made available in another area of the website. 

·         A mobile app was now available that provided translation to residents with limited English and was very effective.  A google search translate also existed on the website, although not always effective.  The new website build would comprise of a suitable translation tool to assist that service.   Members emphasised the importance of the app also being made available on the Council’s website, to ensure residents would be able to use the service.

·         Once funding became available the website would be improved to encompass British Sign Language/English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) videos.

·         He endeavoured to provide an update to the Committee on recommendation 17 (workplace assessments for new staff).  The Digital Strategy aimed to provide countless tools for people to use but it was recognised further skills in the organisation for staff/members were required, including providing appropriate training and ensure people are supported.

·         Digital use in customer centres and new libraries were being monitored daily by staff.  The new website would consist of in-built monitoring tools requesting people to ask for assistance if required.  The Call Centre would eventually be upgraded to include a video chat environment to assist people.

·         The Digital Strategy aimed to work with partnership organisations, retail outlets and the voluntary sector to provide support for people with disabilities,  vulnerable people and other people across the borough

 

Robert Hill, former councillor and member of the commission, highlighted that:

·         Digital equipment and access was monitored by some staff in the Civic Centre.

·         The ICT team had worked with a range of individuals and organisations throughout the Strategy to consider their needs, including staff with disabilities.

 

Councillor Jim Dickson, Cabinet Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships & Community Safety (Job Share), emphasised the need for clear KPIs and qualitative data around digital usage, problems encountered and how to rectify, should be included in the new Digital Strategy.

 

The Chair thanked officers and Robert Hill for their contributions.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.      To request that a clearer distinction be made for people opting in to communications via MyLambeth between transaction-related information and council news, and ensure that such communications comply with the Council’s data protection obligations.

 

2.      To request a further update on recommendation 17 (workplace assessments for new staff), specifically in relation to the new intake of councillors following the May 2018 local elections.

 

3.      Reinforcing recommendation 16, to urge officers to work with voluntary sector organisations and interest groups in the borough to monitor progress and provide feedback on digital development in Lambeth, via ‘mystery shopping’ and other means as appropriate.

 

4.      To ensure the forthcoming Digital Strategy is accompanied by a comprehensive performance monitoring regime including appropriate KPIs in order that progress and achievement can be properly assessed.

 

Guillotine

During the discussion of this item the guillotine fell at 9.00 pm.

 

MOVED by the Chair, and

 

RESOLVED: That the meeting continue for a further period of up to 30minutes.

 

Supporting documents: