Lincoln Council has launched a new reporting tool for housing repairs developed with support from the Local Digital Fund of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Housing Industry Leaders investigates how the online tool will benefit the city and how the Local Digital Fund will benefit local governments.
Developed with public sector technology company Made Tech, tenants can book non-emergency repairs online, with the system sending an email or a text to confirm the booking.
From the Local Digital Fund, Lincoln received £350,000 for the project. Now, the tool will be available to other local authorities, and there are plans to add more features, including the ability to amend or cancel a booking, report communal repairs, and offer repair options to leaseholders.
Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing at City of Lincoln Council, Cllr Donald Nannestad, said: “Thanks to the hard work of the City of Lincoln Council and the Made Tech team, we’ve developed a new service that improves services for our tenants in Lincoln.
We’ve put user research at the heart of the service, and I’m proud of the work the teams have done to make this service accessible to those who need it.
Technology Needs To Close The Digital Divide
As outlined in the Lincoln City Profile – 2021 – 2022 Population document, around 20 per cent of Lincoln city’s population is over 65, compared to around 30 per cent of its population which is in the 15-29 age bracket.
The aim is that the online tool will help to close the digital divide between the two age groups, and helps improve how accessible it is for older people to access information and connect with services and organisations. Tackling this digital divide is crucial to addressing social and economic inequalities and levelling up communities.
Quadrant has covered this topic on our podcast, if you are interested in hearing more about the digital divide, listen here.
The Local Digital Fund Will Support Local Governments
Aiming to help local authorities implement the Local Digital Declaration, the Local Digital Fund focuses on training digital skills and projects that address common local service challenges in reusable ways.
All signatories of the Local Digital Declaration are invited to apply for funding to support collaborative digital projects. Successful projects will receive dedicated support from the Local Digital Collaboration Unit.
In addition to funding, all signatories also have access to digital skills training for both leaders and delivery teams.
The Shared Vision Of The Declaration
The Local Digital Declaration consists of over 280 local authorities, sector bodies, and government departments committed to the Declaration’s shared vision.
Ensuring that changes start to happen in practice, culture and outcomes, organisations that sign must commit to doing a declaration project in the next year, in line with the Declaration Principles.
Focusing on the needs of people using them, services will be redesigned, and technology will play a key factor. Breaking dependence on inflexible and expensive technology that doesn’t join up effectively, in favour of modular common components and open data standards is essential.
Other principles include the design of safe, secure, and useful ways of sharing information to build trust among our partners and citizens, and the demonstration of digital leadership.
Working collaboratively with other organisations is important, doing so by sharing plans and experience and embedding an open culture that values, incentivises and works in the open as much as possible.
The Local Digital Fund’s help in supporting local governments is essential when it comes to improving and benefitting areas and the people living in them.