What does digital transformation mean to 82-year-old Edith?

by Maria Fairbank-Azcarate - Senior Digital Transformation Consultant
| minutes read

Leading and implementing complex digital transformation projects, it is easy to become consumed by spreadsheets, project plans and progress updates. That is why I make a daily habit of asking myself and my team ‘why are we doing this?’ and ‘who is this for?’. That is why our Sopra Steria team is known in certain circles for being ‘obsessive’ about always doing the right thing for the customer.


This has been our ethos throughout our 18-month partnership with Broxbourne Borough Council as we guided its teams through an ambitious digital transformation journey.


The vision was complex and impacted on all the Council’s 30 service areas and 500 employees. An historic lack of investment in IT across the council meant that a new digital infrastructure and a more joined up way of working was urgently needed.


I believe our constant focus on the customer is the primary reason why Broxbourne has seen such success - like a 69 per cent increase in take up of the Council’s new digital services.


I could tell you all about the new technologies and processes we have introduced at Broxbourne to drive efficiencies and transform systems but I’d rather tell you about grandmother of three, Edith. Her experiences demonstrate the true impact of Broxbourne’s digital transformation journey.


Edith's Story*


* This story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this video are fictional. No identification with actual persons is intended nor should be inferred.


Edith is a socialite and fiercely independent despite the challenges that life has thrown at her in recent years, including debilitating arthritis. Edith lives in the Cheshunt house she bought and shared with her late husband, Harry, who died 15 years ago.


An unnecessary stress in Edith’s life is her bins. She can’t get them all the way out onto the street due to her mobility issues, so they haven’t been collected. She calls her local council and they explain that they’ve been missed as they were in the wrong place. They tell her about ‘Assisted Collection’ and send her a form in the post to fill in and send back. As she’s waiting for the form to arrive and for her grandson to help with filling it in, more weeks roll by where her overflowing bins are missed. She phones the council again and they tell her she can only report a missed bin after 4pm and that they’re still waiting for her form. Over a period of six weeks, Edith is getting more and more distressed.


And she isn’t alone. Around 30% of queries with councils and councillors are related to waste.


But, this is a thing of the past now in Broxbourne.


Now, when Edith’s bin is missed she calls up the council on the landline and a friendly man fills in an online missed bin report on her behalf. When he hears about the multiple missed bins, he explains that Edith is eligible for Assisted Collection, so he fills this form out for her at the same time.  Whenever the waste collection team are on Edith’s street now, they’ll receive an alert on their tablets so they know to go into her garden to collect her bins. Plus, she receives a letter in the post to confirm the Assisted Collection is all set up forever.


In Edith’s words; “What a relief! I never have to worry about this again. The Council was so helpful, I can’t believe how quickly they can do it all nowadays.”


Edith is one of Broxbourne’s 100,000 residents who are benefitting from these innovative digital services.


The Council’s new state of the art digital platform supports its website, digital services and customer management system. So far, 159 digital services have been created, all with the customer at the heart of design.


I truly believe that if this approach is replicated by other local authorities, it could create a more efficient, responsive generation of public services. It could change lives and that is why I always start my day with those questions. Why and who for?


Visit https://www.soprasteria.co.uk/digitalcouncils to meet more Broxbourne residents and hear how #digitalcouncils are improving their lives.



Related content

Related contents

From stress to success for missed bin reports

How Sopra Steria transformed one of Broxbourne Council’s most painful customer and staff experiences into a 24/7 automated success story.

Related contents

The first small step - How councils can prepare for a new wave of pressures

As the country braces itself for a demanding winter, expectations on councils are increasing and this is on top pre-Covid pressures which have not gone away.


Related contents

How the Borough of Broxbourne Council emerged as a digital innovator

Just outside the M25, north of London, a digital innovation has taken place that could form a blueprint for the future of public services.