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Our Digital Strategy: a truly digital council and borough 2019–2024

by Croydon Borough Council


Foreword: Leader of the Council,

Councillor Hall and

Councillor Shahul-Hameed

This administration was elected on a manifesto that clearly outlines our commitment to you –

the nearly 400,000 residents of Croydon.

That manifesto has been translated into our Corporate Plan for Croydon 2018-2022, a bold set of actions to deliver more efficient, effective and accessible services and to ensure that the people and the place of Croydon are thriving. In that plan, we defined how we will take a radical new approach, with residents and locally tailored services at the heart of how we deliver.

It is clear that such a radical new approach, and the future economic growth of our borough, both rely upon our making more and better use of the new opportunities that digital, data and technology provide. This new Digital Strategy is therefore a crucial enabler of how we will deliver our Corporate Plan.

Historically, Croydon is renowned for technology and innovation, from being home to the UK’s first international airport to being home to more than 2000 digital businesses in the borough today. As a council, our pioneering work on digital inclusion and transformative technology earned national recognition as Digital Council of the Year in 2017.

But technology and the internet continues to change the world around us at a fast and ever-accelerating pace. Our population is growing rapidly, at a time when central government funding for local authorities is decreasing. We face increasing challenges and urgency around environmental sustainability, and we cannot afford to stand still as we work towards our vision of becoming a digitally connected town and borough fit for the 21st century.

We’re already on our way towards becoming a truly sustainable city. Right now, Croydon is going through an unprecedented period of growth and revitalisation. We’re well underway with some £5bn of borough-wide investment that will be completed over the next few years, transforming Croydon into a world-class destination for the high numbers of residents and businesses moving here.

It is vital that digital is at the heart of this regeneration. Using technology, we must deliver tailored services and build sustainability into the design of our built environment, to provide you with the very best living conditions. Working with our local tech sector, we must continue to grow our digital economy, and make sure you can access and are equipped for the jobs of the future. We need to push further, faster with our use of digital approaches, data and technology, to ensure our borough thrives through the 4th industrial revolution.

This strategy sets out how we will make the most of the opportunities digital presents us, to:

We and our Cabinet colleagues are pleased to endorse this new strategy. It sets a clear path for the next 5 years, to maximise the opportunities of digital to improve the services you use, the places where you live and work, and how efficiently the council functions so that it can provide the best services and best value to residents. There’s no shortage of political will to make Croydon a truly digital council and borough.

Tony Newman Leader of the Council

Simon Hall Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources

Manju Shahul-Hameed Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs


Introduction: Jo Negrini, Chief Executive

and Neil Williams, Chief Digital Officer

This strategy is about recognising the way the internet has changed our lives, and harnessing that

change to provide better outcomes for the people of Croydon.

Residents, businesses, workers, visitors and students in Croydon rightly expect their interactions with the council and their experience in and around our urban spaces to be as straightforward, connected, convenient and technologically advanced as the very best of their experiences elsewhere. Council staff, too, have similar expectations of the tools they use to do their jobs. And, at the organisation level, we have political and financial imperatives to operate as efficiently as possible.

We have a remarkable opportunity to seize these opportunities. Croydon is a naturally ambitious council, and our borough is going through a multi-billion pound transformation.

However, delivering these new imperatives requires not just a new set of actions, but a radically different approach, hence this new strategy and accompanying roadmap.

It is important to recognise that digital is not a separate activity in its own right, but an enabler of everything else the council is doing (defined in our Corporate Plan for Croydon 2018-2022) and of how we are doing it (due to be articulated in our upcoming Workforce Strategy). This strategy and accompanying roadmap exist to support the whole council’s goals, by radically re- imagining how we design, deliver and operate our services in the internet age, tailored for different localities.

It is essential we do this well, to stay competitive as a council and place, and to fulfill our duty to residents, communities and businesses by helping them survive and thrive as the world changes rapidly around them.

We are already well underway building new capability in the council to deliver this strategy:

This strategy itself was developed in the open, as a public conversation via the croydon.digital blog. Thank you to all who provided ideas and comments.

Digital moves fast, and digital strategy documents date faster. Therefore while this strategy sets a high level framework for where we’re going and how we’ll move forwards over the next few years, the specific timings of what we do will continue to evolve as we deliver and learn - in the open, via our public roadmap at https://croydon.digital/roadmap

You can feedback and influence it at any time - these are your digital services after all.

Jo Negrini Chief Executive

Neil Williams Chief Digital Officer


Key statistics


4,175 staff




TB of data
in the cloud, our
business intelligence
data lake and on-
premises data centre.


tech support
raised by council
employees per month.


registered accounts


visitors to the council
website every month


of the Don’t Mess With Croydon
mobile app, used 900 times each
month to report problems with waste
and other issues.
for accessing the council’s 100+ online
services. Around 30% of contact with residents
currently happens via online self-service.
55% via mobile or tablet devices.
On average a person visits the site
3.5 times a year.
powering the council’s activities from council
tax collection to social care casework,
needing maintenance, support, frequent
upgrades and regular replacement.


line of business
provided with laptops, Office 365,
networks, mobile and fixed telephony.
(2nd highest in London) growing by 14% to approx 445,000 by 2031. 51.7% BAME
and over 100 languages spoken. Highest population of under 18s in London.


business intelligence
for monitoring performance and informing
policy decisions, with more in the pipeline.




technology business


of postcodes


of people

of new Grade A office space
under development.

2.8 million ft


in the borough employing 7,725 people - a
growth of 41% between 2013 and 2018.
can receive broadband speeds
of at least 30 MBPS.
in the borough are more likely than
the national average to use the internet at
least once a week. (Source: ACORN)

Ideal conditions

for Smart Cities, GovTech and UrbanTech innovation: 45 public
sector organisations, a complex and compact town centre,
London’s growth borough with a £5.25bn regeneration programme.


Digital is not about technology,

it’s about changing the way

people live, connect and work.

This strategy, therefore, is about how we will deliver the
services and infrastructure our residents need in order to
thrive and live happy, healthy lives in Croydon, now and for
years to come. It’s about how we as a council can achieve
more, with less, to serve our residents better and tailor how
we deliver services to meet differing needs in our localities.
It’s about creating a modern, sustainable town and borough
that is a great place to live, work, play and do business, and
about making sure we remain resilient and competitive in a
rapidly changing world.
As a consequence of delivering this strategy:
About this strategy

“A truly digital council will be more

connected and integrated, using digital

to reimagine service delivery that is user-

centric and meets users’ needs - with

citizens, communities and businesses

reaping the benefits.”

Council of the Future: A digital guide for councillors - Tech UK 2018.


Definition of digital

When we say digital in this strategy, we mean the following definition, widely adopted in the UK public sector:

“Applying the culture, processes, business

models and technologies of the internet era to

respond to people’s raised expectations”

Tom Loosemore, Public Digital

Policy context

This digital strategy is an enabling document to the council’s Corporate Plan for Croydon 2018-2022. Having a responsive, agile and user-centred digital service is key to the successful delivery of the council’s ambitions.

Six themes are discussed in the Corporate Plan which represent the council’s way of operating in the future. Digital contributes meaningfully to each:

We will put residents at the heart of our approach to designing digital services,
using research and continual testing to ensure our services meet their real-
world needs, enabling them to achieve their goals as quickly and efficiently
as possible. As we transform our digital services we will also create rapid,
often real-time feedback loops, enabling services and underlying policy to
be continuously improved based on evidence of how well they are meeting
residents’ needs.
Data science and new data analytics platforms enable evidence from multiple
sources to be combined and interpreted in new ways, for better (sometimes
automated and predictive) decision making. The council is already making good
use of these new capabilities, developing dashboards to provide rich insights,
and has plans to embed a culture of business intelligence to support our
localities model.
Thirdly, through better use of digital engagement tools and social media, we can
increase the scale and openness with which we engage residents in decisions
that affect them.
Every part of the council workforce relies upon effective digital tools, and stands
to benefit from the adoption of digital culture and ways of working in order to
become a more adaptive, connected, mobile and collaborative organisation.


Our vision is to become a truly digital council

and borough.

We will harness the potential of digital design, data and technology to work efficiently, transform the relationship between residents and the council, and make Croydon a leading destination for growth, opportunity and quality of life.

We will do this by focusing on three main themes (supported by a fourth):

1. Digital council

We will optimise how the council uses digital design, data and technology to work efficiently, collaborate, make informed decisions, adapt and innovate.

2. Digital services

We will transform the relationship between residents and the council by providing online services so good that most people choose to use them and can do so unaided.

3. Digital borough

We will maximise opportunities for digital design, data and technology to enhance economic growth, quality of life, sustainability and individual opportunity in Croydon.

Success in all of these three main themes above will be unlocked and accelerated by progress in a fourth, cross-cutting theme:

4. Collaboration and data

We will use digital tools to collaborate with organisations across all sectors, make Croydon’s data open and share digital assets for the public good.

By delivering against all these themes we will become digital inside and out,
maximising the opportunities for our council and borough in partnership with
organisations across the system.





Principles and approach to delivery

Our strategy is underpinned by the following principles, which guide

the way we work as we pursue our vision.

1. We focus relentlessly on meeting user needs

As a digital service, we exist to meet the needs of our users (from residents to internal colleagues). Every piece of work we undertake will be based upon meeting a need that our service users have, which will help us to always build the right thing. We do this by speaking directly to our users and observing how they interact with our services, focusing on what they show they need rather than say they want.

We make sure our digital services are accessible to all users, regardless of disability.

We are acutely aware of the digitally excluded, and so we make sure:

THEME 1: Digital council

Our desired outcomes:

“Digital is something you are, not something you

do. It’s about how you think, how you behave,

what you value, and what drives decisions in

your organisation.”

What a Digital Organisation Looks Like - Doteveryone 2017

We will optimise how the council

uses digital design, data and

technology to work efficiently,

collaborate, make informed

decisions, adapt and innovate.


Where we are now

As set out in the ICT Sourcing Strategy paper to Cabinet in November 2017, we have made significant progress in recent years to equip council staff and members with flexible, modern equipment and software, while delivering multi-million pound savings and mitigating cybersecurity risks. We can be proud that we have some of the best IT of any council.

Our ambitious ICT transformation programme proposed in that same paper is now nearing completion, and has successfully delivered a more flexible, multi-vendor technology ecosystem for the council’s core, corporate technology. This forward- thinking transformation is the bedrock for all our future digital ambitions, meets principle 2 of the Local Digital Declaration (“fix the plumbing”), and is regarded as an exemplar by many of our local government peers. The council now has more control over quality of service for all technology we currently use and the ability to respond more rapidly to changes.

Across the council, we also make use of hundreds of line of business systems which enable our organisation to function and our workforce to deliver public services. We have powerful tools at our disposal for data intelligence and reporting, an emerging Business Intelligence Strategy, a number of dashboards and a growing capability in developing and using them to manage performance metrics, predict issues and inform policy decisions.

However, current expenditure on digital, data and technology initiatives is spread across departments, making it challenging to get a true total cost of investment. The quality of our delivery is variable, and there is considerable duplication and inefficiency as well as usability challenges across our software estate. Like all councils, we have a sprawling portfolio of legacy applications and databases, built in a pre-digital era and often unfit to support modern online services. We also continue to operate a high number of paper-based and manual processes, and there is significant potential for the council to achieve savings, higher staff satisfaction and provide better services for residents from digitising more of our internal operations.

Going forward, we need to improve capability across the council to make the best use of the equipment and software we already have. We need to improve governance and visibility over IT spend in delegated budget lines, establishing stronger controls to ensure value for money and standards assurance. We need a clear architectural vision that will enable us to reduce the complexity and size of our back-office software estate and reduce duplication over time, and to increase use of Software as a Service models so that we only pay for what we need. Where practical, we need to begin using service design methods for our back office systems, to improve usability for council staff, and adopt a more agile, digital culture across the organisation that places user needs at the heart of how we choose, buy, build and implement technology in the council and how we design our internal processes.


(^) THEME 1: Digital council continued… What we will do To move forward in this area, we will:

1. Develop a clear architectural vision for all council technology systems, working towards an irreducible core of specialist applications and shared components that provide common functions once, integrated through APIs, using cloud and Software as a Service solutions wherever possible 2. Put in place a new, robust governance framework to ensure all changes to technology across the council are fit-for- purpose, cost-effective, secure, in line with the architectural vision and meet the government’s Technology Code of Practice and Service Standard; and to get clarity on the council’s total spend on technology 3. Re-tender our (recently disaggregated) corporate ICT contracts every few years to ensure best value and service, and diversify our supplier base including buying local where possible to do so 4. Create permanent capability for transforming major line of business systems, recognising that this is a continuous activity, and work with peers in other councils to positively disrupt the marketplace for these systems 5. Conclude the development of our Business Intelligence Strategy and implementation plan to further our use of data- led intelligence across the council, with a particular focus on supporting localities-based service delivery 6. Design and run a mandatory learning and development programme and provide ongoing learning opportunities for all staff to increase digital confidence, instill cybersecurity best practices, improve data literacy, awareness and stewardship, and embed a more digital culture including agile methods and working in the open 7. Develop digital leadership capability within the council, in line with the Local Digital Declaration, prioritising the corporate leadership team (the top 3 tiers of council officers) and Cabinet members 8. Implement a best-of-breed contact centre and enterprise telephony system, ensuring residents can contact and hear from the council reliably and consistently 9. Review and improve how we support and train users of corporate and line-of-business software to maximise their effective use, including introducing agile and user centred service design methodologies to optimise the usability of our software 10. Seek out opportunities to use new and emerging technologies such as robotic process automation and machine learning to automate low value tasks and improve operational efficiency, freeing up officer time for frontline services to residents 11. Review current processes for providing assistive technology for staff with disabilities, ensuring we make the best use of available technology to support all our staff 12. Support the council’s communications team to transform the corporate intranet and provide improved tools for internal digital engagement and information-sharing 13. Deliver an ongoing portfolio of improvements to council systems, corporate ICT and automation of sub-optimal or paper-based council processes, prioritised on our public roadmap


Indicative dates

for priority deliverables

Check our live, continuously updated roadmap to see
specific deliverables, track our progress, offer help
or give your feedback to influence what we do next:


“I would like to see digital technology used to

facilitate open fair and transparent procurement

at Croydon Council”

“It would be a great idea to do digital training for

staff working in Access Croydon so that they can help

residents quicker. Many come in because they do not

know how to do certain things on the website and it

would be better if we are trained properly.”

“Embrace a culture of agility and acceptable risk taking,

find out enough to move forward, write down what

needs to be written down, review and learn regularly,

without requiring slavish adherence to a methodology”

Comments from Croydon residents and council staff as part of the online conversation and internal survey that helped shape this strategy

THEME 2: Digital services


Our desired outcomes:

“This is not about polishing websites and

making online copies of existing, paper-

based transactions - broken services

delivered onto a computer screen. It’s

about a new, better approach to the design,

operation and consumption of its services,

focused on citizens and outcomes.”

Digitising Government - Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden and Mark Thompson 2014

We will transform the relationship

between residents and the council

by providing online services so

good that most people choose to

use them and can do so unaided.


Where we are now

We have made visible and impactful inroads into digitising our services in recent years, through our Customer Access and Digital and Enabling transformation projects.

As a result, there are around 180,000 registered users of the council’s “My Account” system, which enables access to more than 100 services online 24/7, including waste collection, housing services, council tax and appointment booking. This has reduced face-to-face demand in Access Croydon, cut waiting times and increased communication with residents, delivering savings of over £10m per annum. Our website is heavily used with 140,00 visitors per month looking for guidance and information. Our mobile app, “Don’t Mess with Croydon” has been downloaded over 3,600 times and enables residents to report fly-tipping, potholes and other issues with our public spaces.

These achievements notwithstanding, there is considerable potential to improve the quality and further reduce the cost of services to residents by providing more of them online, and by applying the user-centric design methods used by the private sector and central government to ensure that more people can use them successfully. Currently, around 30% of all contact between residents and the council takes place via online self-service. We want and need this to be much higher, making all council services digital by default, while also ensuring that we always cater for the digitally excluded.

Recent analysis has found that usage of My Account has begun to decline and a quarter of all website visits result in users contacting the council for help, suggesting their needs are not being fully met online. Our web estate has inconsistent design, has been rated poorly in some external reviews, and in places fails to comply with new, higher standards of accessibility. There is clear demand from residents for more convenient, truly accessible and higher quality digital services they can access 24/7, and more open and transparent information and engagement through digital channels.

Recognising the need for continuous and rapid improvement of our digital services, the council has recently invested in new capability, forming the Croydon Digital Service - a new directorate in the council that is already bringing about a step change in the council’s approach to delivering user-centric services for residents. We have signed the Local Digital Declaration, a public pledge to deliver digital services in accordance with the methods set out in the Government Service Manual and to ensure all new and updated services going forwards meet the high quality standards set out in the Government Service Standard. CDS is working in close partnership with the Residents First Programme, to ensure we understand our residents and customers so that we can listen and respond and work together to improve our front line services.

Source: Business Case for Digital Investment,
ADASS, the LGA and Socitm, 2016

Potential savings from

digital services
Cost per transaction through different channels:


0.9p per transaction


£2.59 per transaction


£8.21 per transaction


(^) THEME 2: Digital services continued… What we will do To move forward in this area, we will:

1. Transform the council’s website, introducing a consistent, mobile-first design system across all official sites and digital services, applying the user-centric design methods as set out in the Government Service Manual to ensure it meets residents’ needs 2. Overhaul our processes and standards for creating and maintaining content, ensuring all guidance is succinct, clearly understandable by users and reliably up to date so that residents trust the website as the canonical source for official information 3. Review the technology underpinning our digital services, to ensure we have a resilient, supported and fit-for-purpose set of platforms that in combination enable us to rapidly and sustainably build, maintain, and continuously improve digital services to better meet the needs of our users 4. Review and tighten up our criteria for permitting the creation of separate websites, with the aim of significantly decreasing the number of microsites and subdomains the council operates 5. ransform how we deliver digital services, working T in multidisciplinary agile delivery teams capable of redesigning services from end to end, ensuring that a user’s needs are considered and met throughout the whole process, and that back office systems and processes are integrated with front end delivery 6. Introduce robust assurance processes to ensure all digital services developed by the council or its suppliers are of high quality, meeting the Government Service Standard 7. Redevelop the Explore Croydon website as a more effective ‘digital induction’ for new residents, a promotional tool for visitors and prospective residents, and a definitive local guide for existing residents, working collaboratively with other interested parties 8. Review and improve our online engagement with residents, including formal online consultation, the council’s email newsletters and push notifications, and informal engagement and customer support through social media, working with the communications and customer contact departments 9. Continue to blog about our work on croydon.digital and encourage other service areas to do the same on a new corporate blogging platform, supporting them with the skills and technology to more openly communicate about the work of the council 10. Ensure that there is a sufficient “assisted digital” support for residents who cannot use council services online, through the contact centre and face-to-face touchpoints including Access Croydon, library services and the emerging localities delivery model 11. Investigate and experiment with emerging technology where there is an opportunity to better meet our users’ needs, including live chat, chatbots and voice operated services 12. Deliver an ongoing portfolio of improvements to existing online services and the creation of new digital services, prioritised on our public roadmap

Indicative dates

for priority deliverables

Check our live, continuously updated roadmap to see
specific deliverables, track our progress, offer help
or give your feedback to influence what we do next:


“Services to do with council tax updates, claiming benefits

and anything to do with residents need to be automated.

Residents usually get delayed responses as everything

is done manually […] Automation will result in happier

residents and less call traffic as well as less visits to

Access Croydon for minor issues. Many residents are

frustrated, please sort it out.”

“The Croydon website is not easy to use. Hard to find

things. Make the website clear.”

“Make online forms easy to understand. They should be

faster to complete as people have things to do!”

Comments from Croydon residents and council staff as part of the online conversation and internal survey that helped shape this strategy

THEME 3: Digital borough


Our desired outcomes:

“We need to be bold and to think big. This

involves being willing to try new ways of doing

things. I see London’s future as a global ‘test-

bed city’ for civic innovation, where the best

ideas are developed, amplified and scaled.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Smarter London Together plan, July 2018

We will maximise opportunities for

digital design, data and technology

to enhance growth, quality of

life, sustainability and individual

opportunity in Croydon.


Where we are now

Croydon has a strong reputation as a fast-growing digital ecosystem, a pioneer in digital inclusion initiatives and an early adopter of innovative technology.

We’re incredibly proud of our thriving tech sector, which has grown by 41% in the past 5 years to over 2,000 businesses and nearly 8,000 jobs, and of our desirable conditions for tech startups and scale-ups including co- working spaces such as TMRW and the Sussex Innovation Centre. We owe much to Croydon Tech City, the voluntary organisation that promoted Croydon as the “Silicon Valley of South London” between 2012 and 2018, and we have recently launched Croydon Digital to continue to convene, promote and grow our tech economy.

On digital skills, in recent years we have supported digital inclusion initiatives through the Our Community fund, and partnered with Doteveryone to bring 3rd parties and the community together to change people’s lives through digital skills and access. CALAT provides adult courses in digital skills, and the council itself provides apprenticeship opportunities in digital and technology roles.

In the Smart City Programme paper to Cabinet in December 2017 we set out our ambition to become a world-class digital and smart city, with a forward plan of activities in partnership with private sector and community. Since then, we’ve made significant progress on all themes of the paper, with a wide variety of initiatives both underway and in development.

However, there is room for improvement across all these
areas, and enormous potential to change perceptions of
Croydon and ensure our people and businesses thrive in the
internet era.
We need to do more to promote Croydon as a destination
for tech businesses, and rebuild momentum and grow the
ambition for tech community events. Digital skills work has
tailed off and should be brought back to the fore to ensure
no resident is left behind as a consequence of low digital
literacy, and to ensure people of all ages have access to the
jobs of the future. Our Smart Cities work is still nascent, and
now needs to come together as a mainstream activity in our
digital roadmap, aligned to the Smarter London Together
and sub-regional plans, with a particular focus on improving
broadband connectivity speeds across the borough.

Smart City initiatives completed since December 2017


(^) THEME 3: Digital borough continued… What we will do To move forward in this area, we will:

1. Take a proactive role in convening, facilitating and promoting Croydon’s digital, data and technology community under the brand Croydon Digital, further developing the brand, events programme and website to support business- to-business connections, recruitment, careers advice and skills, resources for non-digital businesses, and to encourage inward investment 2. Form a Croydon Digital Board with representation from Croydon’s tech community and wider experts to collaboratively develop plans to grow Croydon Digital, with ambitions to establish Croydon as a leader in Smart Cities, GovTech and UrbanTech and launch an annual digital festival 3. Seek out and exploit opportunities to strengthen and expand the availability of tech co-working spaces, incubators, co- ops and accelerators in the town and other district centres 4. Work with the education sector and other partner organisations to boost the number of people with the skills needed to contribute to our local digital economy, by improving the tech skills offer for people of all ages at existing institutions, and creating a new offer working with schools, FE and HE institutions to provide a wide range of learning opportunities for all ages, from code clubs through to university courses. Tech will form a core part of the Croydon Creative Campus 5. ake a research-based approach to identify the skills T needed by our local digital businesses and the best means of developing them, including working with local businesses to create more apprenticeships and work experience opportunities in digital careers. (Within the council, we will provide 3-5 apprenticeships and 2-3 internships in digital roles on a rolling basis, and additional digital apprenticeships through our supply chain) 6. Deliver our already published action plan for connectivity in Croydon, working with providers of fixed, wireless and mobile solutions in a holistic manner to deliver ultrafast broadband to all homes (prioritising social housing) and businesses, public WiFi where it is needed most, and prepare Croydon for the future with 5G and small cell networks 7. Launch a Croydon Digital Challenge, to identify and seed- fund innovative solutions to local civic problems, starting with 2 challenges in 2019/20 with a view to repeating and growing the approach if it delivers value both for the council and participants 8. Continue to take forward Smart City pilots using our Internet of Things network and advances in sensor technology and artificial intelligence to better manage public assets and improve sustainability in public services, with the aim of converting at least 1 successful pilot into a full-scale solution each year, starting in 2019/20 9. ake forward pilots to improve the public realm through T Smart City solutions, looking at innovation such as smart pavements, smart parking, smart benches, electric vehicle charging points, digital signage and interactive experiences 10. Optimise digital advertising across the borough to leverage council-owned street furniture for improving street safety, monitoring air quality, footfall and other non-personal data, and explore the provision of free WiFi, wayfinding and local information 11. Actively work with property developers to encourage uptake of Smart City solutions in the built environment, and explore the potential to develop a digital and Smart City infrastructure standard for all new property development 12. ake forward the CCTV digitisation programme to enhance T safety in Croydon including implementation of on-street cameras, an enhanced control room and connectivity 13. Undertake a review of our current digital inclusion offer to inform a new approach to providing residents with the confidence and access to use the internet, and to improve social inclusion 14. Promote and develop our offer for the innovative use of assistive technology in enabling residents to remain healthy, safe and independent, including helping those with care needs to stay longer in their own homes 15. Explore opportunities to support and promote the use of community-focused platforms to enhance the local economy, encourage ‘buying local’ and create social value, for example activities, business and volunteering listings, b2b collaboration apps and a local currency 16. Deliver an ongoing portfolio of smaller Smart City, digital economy and digital skills initiatives, prioritised on our public roadmap


Indicative dates

for priority deliverables

Rollout of fibre broadband to all social housing in the
borough will begin mobilisation in November 2019, and
take 2-4 years to complete. As well as providing fibre to
social housing tenants this will create infrastructure to
accelerate fibre rollout to other areas
We aim to deliver a comprehensive digital business
directory and advisory content on croydon.digital,
launch a challenge fund competition and hold a first
meeting of the Croydon Digital Board by October 2019
We will complete our review of the current digital
inclusion offer and form a plan to improve it by
December 2019
We expect to have maximised the opportunity to
achieve Smart City benefits from digital advertising in
partnership with a leading provider within 2 years
We will deliver a Schools Roadshow promoting
technology skills and careers across Croydon
secondary schools in 2020
Check our live, continuously updated roadmap to see
specific deliverables, track our progress, offer help
or give your feedback to influence what we do next:

“It is hard to recruit good local technical people. But I believe that the

transformation that Croydon is going through could generate the assets

required to get there. It must start with schools preparing kids to the jobs of

today and of the future. Croydon is massive and should host an International

level University with degrees such as finance, marketing, and engineering of

all kinds, including computer science.”

“It would be better to have more WiFi spots to video call people

so that you have a backup if you run out of data.”

“Croydon needs to plan for connected street furniture, smart parking, wireless

mesh networks, the changing nature of public and private interfaces (e.g.

in-car voice assistants) and what 5G will bring. […] The technologies exist

for Croydon to do something ground-breaking. It’d be great to see Croydon

pioneering their use”

Comments from Croydon residents and council staff as part of the online conversation
and internal survey that helped shape this strategy
THEME 4: Collaboration and data


Our desired outcomes:

“Working together in partnership to create one

shared purpose and one shared vision, we will

work with the voluntary sector, public services,

business community and community groups to

deliver our outcomes”

Tony Newman, Leader of the Council, Corporate Plan 2018-22

We will use digital tools to

collaborate with organisations

across all sectors, make Croydon’s

data open and share digital assets

for the public good.


Where we are now

The council has existing partnerships and alliances with a number of organisations, most notably the One Croydon Alliance - a partnership of 6 bodies collaborating across organisational boundaries for better health and wellbeing outcomes - and we work closely with statutory agencies and the community and voluntary sector across a range of other deliverables outlined in our Corporate Plan. There is considerable potential to make better use of technology to facilitate information-sharing across these existing partnerships, and help us forge new ones.

An effective system-wide approach also relies on shared local data. A wide range of data about Croydon, and transparency information about council operations, is already publicly available via the Croydon Observatory, our corporate website, the London Data store and data.gov.uk. However, there is more to do to unlock more data, improve quality, make all our data easier to find and ensure it conforms to open standards. Of particular priority is the geographic data held by the council, which is currently split across disparate systems and needs work and clearer ownership to get it where it needs to be and make it available for reuse. However, we are in a strong position to radically improve how the council uses, combines and shares data from multiple sources, having invested in a fit-for-purpose cloud business intelligence platform. For example, we have recently begun scoping work on data intelligence to help us take targeted action across the system to prevent violent crime.

As the council reviews and refreshes its core digital platforms and rationalises its portfolio of back office software, there is an opportunity to create common platforms and codebases that are shared not only within the council, but with partners across the system as “public good” civic assets. A small example of such a platform exists already in

the form of Croydon Digital (www.croydon.digital) - a shared
publishing platform for the tech and digital community. The
council has a number of open source capabilities that can be
enabled for reuse across the local system, and we expect that
other organisations are similarly creating digital assets with
untapped potential for reuse. We want to explore the potential
to share these actively across the local system.
Similarly, it is imperative that we reuse and share ideas,
technology and approaches across both central and local
government. As one of London’s largest boroughs, Croydon has
a major role to play in contributing to joined-up solutions for
the whole city, and co-delivering the Smarter London Together
plan. Our status as one of the founding members of the new
London Office for Technology and Innovation stands us in good
stead to collaborate closely with other London boroughs.
Nationally, local authorities have similar problems to solve
and increasingly limited resources, and so wherever possible
we will both contribute to and make use of common solutions,
shared platforms and lessons learned with all our local
government peers. We have committed to do so by signing
the Local Digital Declaration, and are active participants in
networks of our digital peers such as LocalGovDigital.


(^) THEME 4: Collaboration and data continued… What we will do To move forward in this area, we will:

1. Publish data openly wherever possible, in reusable formats, and work with partners to identify the most appropriate channels to use to do this 2. Put in place the necessary technology and governance to allow for easy appropriate data sharing across the borough 3. Develop and steward a digital platform of reusable technology components, to be shared with partners within the borough 4. Explore the potential for a shared Croydon authentication capability between the council and other organisations - providing a trusted, secure way to prove identity online and enabling users to access a wide range of local services with a single login 5. Where we have a need to acquire a new technology solution, we will seek to reuse existing shared capabilities, contributing back any improvements we make 6. Work closely with existing collaborative partnerships, such as the One Croydon Alliance, to ensure user-centred digital products and services are delivered across organisational boundaries 7. Combine a growing capability in data science and business intelligence with experiments and innovations in emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable the council to predict demand and prevent it occurring 8. Improve the council’s strategic offer and delivery of geographic data for internal and external use, starting with establishing clear ownership, roles and responsibilities across our currently disparate systems and data sources 9. Through our status as signatories to the Local Digital Declaration, we will work to become an exemplar digital council and acknowledged as a leader in the sector in this area of work, liaising closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government 10. Be deeply involved in digital networks within our sector and beyond, including being founding and active members of the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI), and contributors to LocalGovDigital 11. Deliver an ongoing portfolio of improvements to existing, and the creation of new, data and collaboration initiatives, prioritised on our public roadmap

Indicative dates

for priority deliverables

Check our live, continuously updated roadmap to see
specific deliverables, track our progress, offer help
or give your feedback to influence what we do next:


“Insist on data generated by infrastructure in Croydon is open by default, with

stable identifiers. Also, provide sample procurement contracts that are open and

flexible, for use in Croydon and other local government. Build a basic digital layer

into all projects – eg Westfield”

“The council has a limited budget to spend on tech improvements.[…] There

are already people in the borough that work in software, so why not leverage

them? If you open sourced some parts of the software you use, residents could

contribute and improve the software itself, saving you money and also giving

residents ownership.”

“Success for your digital strategy is about more than delivering the same

processes in a new way. Digital transformation means providing a seamless

experience to citizens meeting all their needs, predicting and preventing

problems and putting the analytics in the hands of decision-makers to drive

policy. Data and location are at the heart of this.”

Comments from Croydon residents and council staff as part of the online conversation and internal survey that helped shape this strategy


Measuring progress
% of total demand met
through digital self-service
This stands at approximately 30% at present and we aim to increase this
year on year, towards the ambition set in this paper of 75% or higher.
This is a measure not just of our success in improving the quality of
the council’s website and online services, but also in improving digital
inclusion and connectivity across the borough so that more residents are
able to use digital services, and in transforming our internal technology
and processes to remove removing barriers to user-centric service design.
% of staff completing digital
confidence training
This stands at 0% at present and we aim to reach 100% of existing and
new staff.

Progress against this strategy overall will be tracked through existing corporate measurement

frameworks. At a high level, we will report regularly on the following two metrics:

Specific deliverables which move us towards the commitments set out in this strategy are detailed on our roadmap at croydon.digital/roadmap , using the format of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). This means each piece of work we undertake will have its own clearly defined objective and between 3 and 5 specific measures of success.

In addition, we routinely track and report on a set of internal Key Performance Indicators including service levels, take-up and user satisfaction for existing products and services.

Feedback on this strategy
We welcome feedback on any part of this strategy at any time. Please visit our blog at croydon.digital where you can comment in response to this strategy
and all of our ongoing work, or you can email digital@croydon.gov.uk with any thoughts you may have.
We are grateful to everyone who shared their thoughts online or in person in the months before this strategy was published. You can read a summary of how
your input helped to shape the strategy at http://www.croydon.digital/tag/strategy