Weeknote: S1 Ep 25
One big thing and two smaller things
1. View your Council Tax online goes live!
We launched our first digital product this week. Our first iteration of an online Council Tax service landed on Thursday. I’ve had virtually nothing to do with this work, it has been ably led by our Transformation Manager Jamie. It’s a significant moment for us as a service and as a council. Residents can now register online to:
- View their Council Tax balance
- Find out how much they have paid
- View future payments
- Set up a direct debit
- Make a one off payment
For the first time, residents will not have to phone or visit us to get the answers to basic queries about their Council Tax. This will radically reduce the number of calls and face-to-face interactions needed to support residents to find out this basic information. Our customer services team is also being trained to help residents register online. Phone and in-person options will always be available for those who need it.
There’s a lot to celebrate about this project. Jamie’s not the sort of person who seeks the limelight, so on his behalf here’s a few things we’re particularly proud of:
- Partnership working with Revs and Bens — a truly joint endeavour
- Navigating a series of complex integrations with 3rd party suppliers to surface accurate account balances
- A seamless user journey from the website to registration/sign in pages enabled by some excellent content design
- Service design work to identify process improvements
Next up: Jamie will be joined by product manager Alex. Our second iteration will enable residents to view and download their Council Tax bill. This could mean a significant reduction in the number of paper bills we print and post each year.
2. Progress on cloud migration
It’s been good to get closer to the cloud migration work again this week. Emma facilitated three really valuable conversations about how we prioritise which services we migrate and when, how we build out our runbook, and an initial dive into AWS billing. I appreciate the way Emma tackles the breadth of this work, logically and steadily moving things on week by week.
3. Supporting well being
Everyone’s tired. Shorter days, colder weather and unpredictable pandemics are contributing to less energy, more worries and diminishing productivity. We don’t want people to crash at Christmas, we want them to have a proper break. Rather than asking people to “tough it out” we’re role modeling and reminding teams to look after their well being and the well being of those around them. I’ve started work an hour later than I normally do twice this week. I felt better for it and was more productive as a result. I’m going to continue to work one day a week from the office over the next two weeks. This is to support some of my team members who need adaptations to “Plan B”.
On that note, I’ve run out of steam for this weeknote. I’m going to have a glass of wine and decorate my Christmas tree. This might also involve the consumption of some chocolate coins (stolen from my nephew).
I’m looking forward to:
- An (virtual) end of year celebration with all of the delivery teams
- My booster jab!
- Catching up with Emily Webber and the Agile in the Ether gang
- Organising some workshops for January