GDPR – designing to empower citizens

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensures that we will know what, why and how information about each of us is being stored, and gives us the right to restrict or revoke access to it.

Those of us working in local government have significant challenges as to how we make this work for residents on the forms and applications that they complete. It’s no small task to design data storage, indexes and platforms to deliver these customer rights.

At Digital First we are working with our Information Governance team to match the requirements of the law with the needs of the customer. There are some great discussions going on in the wider pattern design community about how we embrace this opportunity to totally rethink how we present these rights to customers.

The “cookies” acceptance is a useful example to think about. This was also made to empower users. It became “the norm” – but it became an irritating norm. If we really want to empower users with these new rights, we need to present them in a useful way, rather than making them a stumbling block.

A good example for us, and one I am working on, is when a customer comes to book a Pest Control service online. If they are met with a wall of information about what the council is going to do with their data, before even filling in their name, will that make them feel empowered or scared? How do we comply with the level of information we must give without confusing them? We need to make sure that they know what they are are agreeing to, or it’s likely that they will decide to phone instead.

There is an understandable desire to err on the side of legal caution, but how do we make this work for everyone?

As we are all facing this, we would love to share ideas and designs with others. We want to co-design and create some new data design patterns that really do empower the citizen. It would be good to hear from other councils working on this, and any developers and designers keen to share ideas, design patterns or user testing results.

Contact us via the comments, or you can email me at annie.heath@brighton-hove.gov.uk

What’s new in Sprint 7

At the end of every sprint one of our team posts about the work we’ve completed. This time round, dear reader, that honour falls to me.

A few people were on holiday this sprint, but it was still pretty action packed:

  • We’ve built a private beta for schools admissions and intend to show it to a group of parents next sprint. Right now it allows them to add children and pick 1st, 2nd and 3rd place preference schools. It also shows schools in your catchment area, and the nearest school based on walking distance
  • Our new parking zones map got a few tweaks. In addition to search for a zone by postcode, it’s now possible to see the map of all zones up front and click around the zones to get useful information. These new features will be live very soon
  • Our blog (as in this page you’re reading) got a facelift. It now looks like our new work-in-progress website design, and we’ll keep tweaking based on your feedback
  • Garden waste now has a new suite of reports showing, primarily, new customers and renewals. Our team and Cityclean colleagues are working closely together to get the most out of the numbers we collect. That’s worth a blog post of its own
  • While we’re talking about Cityclean, there’s now a new kanban wall at the Hollingdean depot (see a pic below). It’s part of our plan to co-locate with our services as far as possible. We’re breaking down silos, but adding walls *gets coat*
  • Getting the right working environment is really important to us, and we took a small step forward this sprint. Our digs at Jubilee Library now has more stools to sit on, and a huge whiteboard for collaborative working. We ran our first session around the whiteboard yesterday and it worked really well

That’s all for this sprint, so see you in two weeks. If you’re finding these updates useful or would like us to change anything please post.

Our new wall at Cityclean

What’s new in Sprint 6

We’re posting updates here at the end of every sprint, and here are our previous instalments.

Like most UK organisations, a few of our team are taking holiday this month. But, we’re still busy and here are the highlights of the last fortnight:

It’ll soon be really easy to find your parking zone
    • We built an alpha allowing residents to quickly look up their parking zone and find out how much a permit costs. Previously residents would need to cross-reference web pages, PDFs and a map to get the same information
    • Our Pest Control app has been live for a while, and we’ve been adding features based on genuine feedback. Now colleagues can do quick risk assessments in the app rather than on paper – a time saving bonus.
    • We want the Digital First team to be positive and productive, so over the last few weeks we’ve talked about team values. We’ve now got a few short statements to live and work by, and you can see them below.
    • Universal Credit is being rolled out in Brighton & Hove this autumn. We have been doing discovery work alongside the Welfare Reform Team on how best to direct potential claimants. In the next sprint, we’ll start building an online filtering app to help people work out their eligibility and get the help they need.

That’s your lot for sprint 6. We’ll back in a fortnight with another update.

Digital First’s new team values set out how we work