Working at Luton Council

The two and a half years (so far) I have worked for Luton Council have given me new skills and an understanding in many things that are just not experienced in the commercial sector, where funding is usually more readily available and the layers of authority don’t exist; at least not to the same extent!

User needs are at the heart of every decision, task and project, whether that is redesigning a service area to improve the customer journey or taking part in a pilot project to enable people to verify their identity for online transactions. It’s all about the user!

That said, it’s also all about saving money! Moving from a Web Services team to a Digital Services function, covering more than just the website, will enable a variety of digital transformation projects and collectively save hundreds of thousands of pounds…eventually!

These include things like encouraging a digital by default approach to some services and ending the decades-old tradition of a printed council newspaper and moving to digital e-updates. Projects I have worked on are listed below.

e-Luton

In a collaboration between the Digital and Comms teams, I have been involved with the transition from a printed council newspaper to a monthly e-update sent directly to subscribers inboxes from its inception. I have had input in:

  • layout and design
  • standardising a content plan of the items to feature in each issue
  • building subscriber database, including:
    • link to sign up form added to all outgoing emails
    • creating a roadblock (pop-up) on entry page linking to sign up form
    • acquiring customer databases from other areas of council and sending an ‘opt in’ email to ensure we adhered to data protection laws
  • brand (e-Luton was my suggestion, based on the new Luton branding – adding ‘e-‘ meant we could incorporate new logo to maintain and raise brand recognition
  • creating a webpage where people can read current and previous issues, and sign up
  • reporting – I send a 24-hour report to the Comms team after every issue of e-Luton – read the stats/comments report from issue 1 of e-Luton here
  • documenting the process on our knowledge base for other Digital team members

e-Luton is now sent to over 32,000 subscribers every month. I am in the process of putting together a case study that will demonstrate the money save by converting from print to digital.

Content design

To me, content design is about presenting information online in the best way possible and making sure that information, and the route to finding it, is user friendly. This is especially important for mobile users who now account for around 60% of all sessions and read content in a very different way.

These are just a few examples of content creation and editing, and service area redesigns, that I have undertaken. These are my initial proposals and ideas so you can see how I plan and work to make content user friendly.

Content editing and creation

Service area redesign

News articles

Although news items are strictly speaking the job of the Comms team, I wrote these articles because either I have good subject knowledge, or they are about me personally (CRUK item). Plus I enjoy writing, so it’s a win-win! :-)

‘Report a change of address online’ was written for the main website; all others were for our intranet.

Reports

From monthly stats and case studies to summaries of workshops I have attended, I do love writing a report! These should demonstrate my understanding of the projects I have been tasked with.

Statistics / case studies

GDS Verify

E-update reports

Other

HTML / CSS

Landing pages

With the aim of providing assistance navigating our new jobsite and promoting then benefits of living and working Luton, I created a responsive landing page using HTML and CSS. The design was was outside the limitations of our CMS so I updated code that had been previously used, wrote suitable content and selected images that worked with the specific subjects.

Self-service screens

Using a combination of HTML and CSS, these screens (each a slight variation on the LBC version) will give people with no internet access a free route to online services. Council services make up the majority of links, but users can also:

  • apply for benefits
  • view planning applications
  • find local services such as doctors and dentists surgeries and local community centres
  • register to vote
  • renew a bus pass

I am working with Periscopix to create a statistics dashboard so we can monitor the use of these screens, amending and updating as necessary. Kiosk software has recently been installed in some locations which will allow us to separate stats by individual unit as opposed to location.

Testimonials

Thank you soooo much. Wow what a fantastic response! You’ve made me smile. If only everyone was like you at LBC Digital Services team…well done!! [Resolved issue with missing bin stickers – first reported five months previously]
Dawn King, customer

First of all can I say thank you so much for pulling out all the stops to get this YSYW launch to where it is! Fantastic effort all round and we all really appreciate what you’ve done.
Heather James, Area Projects and Involvement Manager

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for all your support last week with the e-newsletter, branding, Housing Matters and general digital support for us on the website and Intranet. With Joba and Adam off you were on your own at times so I really appreciate the support and quick turnaround on everything.
Adam Kearney, Strategic Communications and Marketing Manager

You are a star! Thank you so much. Despite all the pressure, you got this [business e-update] out on time – much appreciated.
Attia Nazir, New Deals for Communities Assistant

Many thanks to Nova who has picked this up [logo resolution in emails], pursued it and resolved the problem for us. You’re a star!
Adam Kearney, Strategic Communications and Marketing Manager

Nova in the web team has worked quickly and expertly to help me and Naomi get all of the information updated [new training courses] and ready to go and has been a real asset to the launch project.
Michelle Nickless, Learning & Development Officer

You’re always so helpful, thank you.
Louise Spink, HR Services Assistant

Many thanks for your help with all our ‘stuff’. Michaella was a hard act to follow – but you have done it admirably!
Karen Grant, Learning & Development Officer

Thank you for such a quick response – I am very impressed.
Olwen Davies, Parent Partnership Officer

I just wanted to say and formally acknowledge what a brilliant job Nova has done for the Employee Wellness intranet section. Both Karen and I have been impressed with the speed, accuracy and enthusiasm Nova has implemented on this project.

As a result of Nova’s innovation, I don’t think I would have had such a good response for the healthy eating clinics and I am sure Karen Fletcher would confirm how good Nova has been.
Chimeme Egbutah, Public Health

Nova just a quick thank you for the fantastic job you’ve done on the scrutiny web pages with Lisa and Angela. It looks really good and so much more organised and informative.
Debbie Janes, Democracy Manager

Can I just say how grateful we are for your sterling efforts in helping us get the local plan and evidence online – outstanding!
Kevin Owen, Planning

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