A new Council app, improved borough wide free-wifi and an annual digital conference will all be priorities for Conservative controlled Richmond Council over the next 12 months – marking its commitment to being a Digital First council.
At this week’s Cabinet Meeting, Members agreed a new Digital Strategy - building on the foundations of an already well connected and highly skilled borough, Richmond Council has an ambition to become truly digital.
In a fast changing world the Council has developed this strategy to build on and enhance our existing strengths and to set Richmond clearly on the path of being a vital cog in the tech and digital industries of London and the U.K.
More residents than ever are moving away from traditional points of contact with the Council, choosing to access online services via the Richmond online account or the Richmond Card. The account is a one-stop-shop service and a fast, easy way to manage everything from council tax to parking fines.
Unlike making a telephone call or waiting for an appointment, the Richmond website is available 24/7. Using the Richmond Account residents can make payments, view their personal details in relation to a variety of services and take part in consultations or report environmental issues at a convenient time for them.
More than 62,500 people, a third of all households in the borough, have registered for a Richmond Account since it was introduced.
The agreed new Strategy outlines four priority areas:
- Digital First – ensuring the Council places Digital at the heart of all that is does
- Digital Connectivity – ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place
- Digital Customer – ensuring residents and businesses are able to access our services by a variety of innovative channels and have the skills to do so
- Digital Borough – working in partnership with business and others to maximise the Digital opportunities for all.
We will develop a new Richmond Council mobile application linked to the Richmond Account and Card, managing an increasing range of personalised services. The Council has committed to hosting an annual digital conference, bringing together a wide range of partners to raise the profile of the borough as a tech centre, support tech start-ups and encourage digital collaboration.
The strategy also aims to encourage more residents to ‘get online’ and one of the ways this will happen is an extension of the current free Wi-Fi available in the borough. We will also continue to provide through our libraries and working with partners opportunities for all to improve their digital skills.
Cllr Gareth Elliott, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Digital and Technology, said:
"In launching our new Digital Strategy we are setting a marker that Richmond wants to be a leading local authority in the fast paced and changing world of digital. With the advent of mobile phones, smart cities and the internet of things digital is the way forward.
“Our new strategy seeks to embed and build a new digital first approach into everything we do building a blueprint for the future delivery of public services in a time of huge budgetary pressures.
“Through the development of initiatives such as the Richmond App, the commitment to improve local infrastructure and connectivity and our work to support others to get online, we aim to help transform the way our residents and businesses engage and interact with the Council and each other."
The Digital Strategy is available to view on the Council’s website.