Unify Blog

10 ways to become a local authority fit for the future so you can transform your citizen’s local experience

Are you ready for local government transformation

According to a report by Eduserv looking into IT in local government:

  • 65% of decision-makers were keen to use IT to improve their services, but 85% said a lack of investment was having a negative effect on services.
  • Three out of four councils admitted their IT systems were not capable of transforming businesses or services.
  • While two thirds of councils were involved in IT projects or implementation during the early stages of planning, three quarters were unsure whether the system would be able to make the proposed changes.

Here are ten things you can do to transform your local authority:

1. Make a proper investment in IT

Local authorities might be reluctant to do this given the funding cuts but it will help you cut costs in the long run.

Local government can save about £1.8 billion a year by moving services online, with an average saving of £8.47 per online transaction over face-to-face and telephone transactions.


2. Invest in ‘business change.’

“In short, CIOs need to back any new investment in technology with better communication, more inter-team working, relentless focus on the needs of service users, plus a well-planned but flexible approach to business change.” A piecemeal approach won’t do, according to Eduserv.


3. Integrate departments

Do this across business areas so you can respond to citizens’ needs and create better services.

Lambeth Council reconfigured its IT around customer access, shared services, integration with healthcare and internal efficiency.


4. Create open systems so you can share information with other agencies.

Provide joined-up services and giving employees remote access so they can spend more time on the front line.


5. Think like a business

Instead of reinventing the wheel, work with other local authorities to develop IT services.

Haringey, Camden and Islington councils are set to share a digital and ICT service, which will save £6 million a year across the three local authorities.


6. Share procurement for ICT services

This can enable you to get cheaper contracts from suppliers.


7. Make a cultural shift in your organisation

You can do this by educating staff so everyone buys in to digital services. This will ensure the technology is embedded across the organisation.


8. Provide staff with proper training

As councils move tasks to cloud providers and start to focus on areas like analytics, they will have to build new skills.


9. Get your citizens ready for digital

This is so they can connect and participate. Make sure they have broadband access and offer them digital skills training.


10. Put the customer at the heart of transformation

Set up systems that make it easy for residents to report concerns, interact and make their voices heard so you can respond to their needs, develop effective services and strengthen the democratic process.


Discover how you can turn your local authority into a connected council, fit for the future. Download your report The Local Authority Of The Future: Where The Citizen Comes First to find out how to transform services, give a better citizen experience, and save money during austerity.


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Posted in Unified Communications

Every week I give you a run down of 5 things to read to get your week started. Everything from Tech to Millennial working habits and some of my perspective on top. Here’s my 5 things this week. This is our last edition before the new year we’ll be back in mid January with more.

We’ve talked a lot in this blog about the future of work, but how does this scale when we start to think about the fundamental shifts in society it brings? This article on Business Insider looks at how Cities need to adapt to the challenge of the future of work as well. [How cities can prepare for the future of work – Business Insider]

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Posted in Unified Communications

OScARI don’t know how my mind works, but during the drive to work this morning – a business idea popped into my head!

Today’s world is online – we work online, we play online, we shop online, we research online, we learn online – and we build relationships online. Online dating is HUGE, that we cannot deny – but it is fraught with anxieties.

I have many single friends, all telling blogworthy tales of  ‘interesting’ first dates and encounters.  There are some positive stories – where boy meets girl online, then girl meets boy in the ‘real’ world, then boy and girl hit it off and live happy ever after.

There are the horror stories though – they stories that have stemmed mistrust and anxiety when it comes to taking the leap from ‘virtual’ to ‘reality’.  Bad experiences lead to being (quite rightly) over cautious – as much digging around for contact information, social network profiles, sharing this with a friend – along with where you are meeting, when you are meeting – and the phone call that you get an hour into the date where your friend calls you and whispers ‘do you need an excuse to leave?’.

How to stay safe?

So, I do not have any idea why, but this morning I was driving to the office (or rather sitting in traffic) and  my entrepreneurial skills (ok, less ‘entrepreneurial’ and more ‘imagination running wild’) kicked in. In my head I have created an online dating site – called ‘Safe Date’ – yes, I even have a company name!  It is based around the concept for safety of lone workers such as Social Workers.

So what on earth does a Social Worker’s safety precautions have to do with Online Dating, apart from the fact that some Social Workers are indeed single?

Well, here’s how ‘Safe Date’ could work:

Step 1: Sign up online  – have contact details verified

Step 2: Get matched online with ‘suitors’ through very clever algorithm

Step 3: Build early relationship online

Step 4: Bite the bullet and arrange to meet – at a neutral venue that has been publicised on the dating site – in a ‘TripAdvisor’ style review / recommendation by other daters section.

Here’s where the clever ‘safe Tech’ cuts in – just as it would for a social worker/ lone worker !!

  • You send 3 texts to a central number. 1st says ‘Name of person you are meeting’, 2nd says ‘where you are meeting’ and 3rd says anticipated finish time of date
  • After one hour you get a call from central app
  • When get call –
    • press ‘1’ to say ‘I am here and safe’ – triggers next check in call at anticipated date finish time
    • press ‘5’ to say ‘I am here but not comfortable’ – to trigger a call to your nominated best friend for a ‘rescue’
    • press ‘9’ to say ‘alert the police’
  • At the end of the date, both daters get a call and are asked to ‘rate their date’ for ‘feeling safe and comfortable’ – press 1 for ‘safe as houses’ with a sliding scale to 9 for ‘unsafe/felt vulnerable’ – and they get a star rating on the site.

Its only an idea  – and it would cut down on those horror dating stories that you share over a glass of something with your friends, but just goes to show how tech in real life isn’t just for work but also for our personal lives,  and could improve safety for daters and social workers alike! The tech behind this idea already exists, and is called OScAR (Not a single guy waiting for a date – but a versatile tech solution!).

Here’s the techy bit:

“OScAR-Eco is the ideal mini server for alarms for low and customer needs, suitable for nursing homes, small branch offices and limited use in larger enterprises. Initiators for alarms can include door contacts and sensors as well as external systems (e.g. nurse call systems in the hospital), phones and single button medallions. OScAR-Eco raises alarms with information on the cause including positioning data, thus guaranteeing fastest mobilization of support staff and service technicians.”

OScAR is a multi tasking piece of tech – from alarms when freezers go off in supermarkets, to multiple uses in industries such as Health Care, or vulnerable Lone Worker safety in the field.

It’s well worth a look!


<<Maybe I should take my business idea to ‘The Apprentice’ and Lord Alan Sugar….. It *could* catch on!>>


Posted in Mobile Working, Technology, Unified Communications

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Channel Partners are no longer asking ‘why should I sell cloud-based services?’ but rather ‘how quickly can I start selling Cloud?’ and it’s refreshing to see our Partners conquering the Cloud.

According to Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner: “Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world.”

Change in any capacity can be daunting, hard work, exciting and in most cases worth it in the long run. Having been involved in hosting a number of Cloud Partner workshops and webinars at Unify, I have listened to many Partners being open about previous concerns they had regarding selling cloud, however now they are aware of the benefits and know that if they don’t stay current they  will ultimately get left behind. It’s simply the way the industry is evolving…

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Posted in Unified Communications

This blog was co-authored by Paul Maddison

With Circuit we’re very proud that we offer the richest collaboration experience with a zero foot-print approach.

By embracing the very latest web technologies (like WebRTC) all you need is a browser to chat, make and receive voice and video calls, hold conferences and perform screen sharing sessions.
Targeting the richest possible ‘pure web’ experience will always be our passion and main focus.

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Posted in Circuit

Every week I give you a run down of 5 things to read to get your week started. Everything from Tech to Millennial working habits and some of my perspective on top. Here’s my 5 things this week.

One of the things that interests me most about the way work will change in the future is the way in which Digital Nativism (i.e. new employees who have had technology from a young age) will change the way teach children. This article looks at 4 Edtech trends shaping the future of education for children today. they may not impact your workplace today but they may do in the future. [4 Digital Trends in edTech and the Companies Behind Them | Inc.com] Read More

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Posted in Unified Communications