Waltham Forest recruits residents to test services
London borough builds 80-strong panel of citizens
Waltham Forest Council has assembled a team of citizens to test its digital services and provide feedback.
With the aim of creating an 80-strong panel of local residents, the east London borough recently appealed for volunteers to wishing to take part – and was heavily oversubscribed. The panel was chosen with care to incorporate as wide a range as possible of ages and backgrounds.
This is particularly important given that Waltham Forest is one of the most multicultural areas of the country, in which only a third of residents are from a white British or Irish background. Close to 40% of citizens were born outside this country, and one in four speaks a language other than English as their main language.
The panel is able to test newly created digital services and then complete surveys on their functionality and ease-of-use, as well as provide feedback and suggestions for changes they would like to see.
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The process is an example of how adopting agile development methods has allowed the council to design better services, the council’s director of ICT and digital Paul Neville told PublicTechnology. He added that the borough’s frontline service-delivery professionals have also been brought into the digital design process.
“We are consistently thinking of how can we make that experience a better experience,” Neville said. “We are not a council that just does things to the residents – this is about us working together.”
He added: “This is win-win – our residents feel invested in things... and we get to test things with real people.”
Look out on PublicTechnology in the coming days for a full write-up of our chat with Neville and Waltham Forest councillor Liaquat Ali, who told us about the impact of the borough’s digital transformation so far, and where it might go next.
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