Selby District Council

Selby District Council’s digital strategy is highly ambitious and is leading the way across Yorkshire in terms of what a local council can provide its customers, its citizens and its staff.

Selby District Council approached this project in quite a unique way, in the sense that they had senior leaders within the council supporting the vision and the programme as well as a team with a specific focus on business transformation and user adoption. The combination of these unique skills helped to drive forward the vision for the programme by acting as an intermediary between IT and the end-user.

Previously, Selby District Council were utilising Windows 7 and had kit that was up to seven years old, therefore everything was operating quite slowly. With customers expecting more from them, from a digital point of view, they needed to invest in their IT so that they could deliver their services more effectively and meet the needs of a modern environment that people have come to expect at work.

When the project was first developed, there was a lot of thought and discussions around user adoption and change management. For example, they looked at how they could best engage with different types of people that might be a little bit nervous about using new solutions and devices and therefore require a little extra support. However, people across the organisation embraced it all and one thing they’ve found is that throughout the whole of the rollout, none of the normal work stopped. People have just been able to use the new devices and implement the new ways of working as part of their day-to-day business. For example, Gemma Adamson the Leadership Support Officer at Selby District Council commented:

“I work with numerous teams across the district and across the council, so I might need to double check some information that I have. What we started doing is having a conversation via Microsoft Teams which is a face-to-face visual conversation so I can pull up my screen, show them the query and then we have a three-way conversation in regards to how we’d like them to deal with that query and process it. It makes things quicker and customers are getting faster responses because we’re not having to wait for people to come back to us.”

We’ve had a clear and reasoned plan in place so that we can adapt according to the priorities of that week. We’ve created an excitement about what we’re doing, and we’ve left people with devices feeling empowered to use them as well as excited about what the new functionality is going to bring for them.
Jennifer Clewley, Business Transformation Officer, Selby District Council

Powering collaboration, accessibility and inclusion

Selby District Council have many staff and partners that work in a variety of offices and organisations across the district and they are already seeing the hugely positive impact of being able to connect as if they’re in the same room sharing information. Their productivity has improved and they are able to do things more efficiently, which ultimately benefits the people that they serve.

“To be able to collaborate, genuinely collaborate, makes a really big difference. If you are taking part in a meeting and you’re dialling in by telephone, it’s really difficult to read the room. If you’re there by video, it feels that you are actually part of the experience. I think when you work at home quite a lot, it’s really easy to feel isolated, so to instantly be able to talk to a member of my team face-to-face by video is qualitatively different.”

Yvette Turnbull, Culture, Visitor and Creative Economy Project Manager, Selby District Council

Selby District council are already realising some incredible outcomes from this move to a modern workplace. They’ve been able to target certain users who have accessibility needs and they’re seeing an almost immediate benefit for some of those users using tools like Read Aloud and the accessibility tools that are in Office 365. The way they’ve been able to introduce Microsoft Teams quite early in the project has also allowed them to become more resilient, faster. It’s enabled both remote and flexible working and allowed them to adopt the technology at a pace that is right for them.

Selby District Council are now in the position of being able to use Microsoft as a platform to integrate with their back-office systems and processes so that they can deliver services to their customers much more effectively, efficiently and more seamlessly than ever before.

I have a chronic condition which means that I’m not always able to actually get into the office, and one of the ways that it (Microsoft Teams) has really made a difference is being able to be in meetings whilst not being in meetings. It makes me feel as though I’m getting the better of my disease.
Yvette Turnbull, Culture, Visitor and Creative Economy Project Manager, Selby District Counci

What’s to come for Selby District Council?

The next phase of the project is the further migration of their data and information into Microsoft Office 365. This is going to be an incredibly important part of the project, because it’s going to bring SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Teams to life as the collaboration platform for Selby. Using these solutions will give them all the information they need to make decisions faster, to collaborate more freely and work together more productively for the good of their staff, partners, citizens and district.

To see more of Selby District Council’s story, you can watch a video as they describe the goals of this process or listen to our podcast during the project as we discuss progress, challenges and how they’ve overcome them.