MySouthwark - Transforming Southwark Council's online services

design by web labs design

Our 92,000 registered customers already benefit from:

  • personalised home page, displaying up to 25 data-sets chosen by the user
  • single sign-in to their online accounts:
    • council tax, benefits and landlords and business rates
    • library
    • rent, leaseholder, garage and sundry accounts
    • repairs history and report a new repair
    • community forum
  • pre-population, save facility and full log of all e-forms

With much more coming soon...

My Southwark

In 2012 Southwark set out on a journey to change the way services were provided to our residents. Like many others, we had adopted the principle of “Digital by Default” but needed to find a way to make that a realistic ambition, rather than a slogan.

We recognised that a lot of effort had already been put into getting services online, but that this had been done in silo. What we needed was a way to join things up, providing a platform for ongoing development and channel shift, using a product that our residents would actually want to use.

The development of the My Southwark customer account became the linchpin around which our channel shift strategy would be delivered.

The initial phase was to create the basic user account and to begin the process of consolidating online services, already available as stand alone products, under that one account, with single sign-in.

A strategic decision had already been made that Web-Labs eforms would be the council’s default eform package and it was Web-Labs with Digital Transformation Platform who were chosen to be our principle partner in the development of My Southwark.

The first version of My Southwark was launched on time and to budget in July 2012 and provided account holders with:

  • personalised home page, displaying up to 25 data-sets of information chosen by the user, ranging from their bin collection dates to their nearest leisure centre or planning application pre-population, save facility and full log of all e-forms
  • single sign-in (following a one time authentication process) to their council tax, benefits or landlord accounts (in partnership with Gandlake)
  • single sign-in to their library account (in partnership with Prism)

By the end of July 2013 over 40,000 people had registered for a My Southwark account with 17,000 linking to one or more revenues and benefits accounts.

Our approach to the on-going development of My Southwark has differed to many local authorities in that we have not based the account around a single service area, such as revenues and benefits or environmental services. Nor have we tried to recreate functionality that already exists for self service for specific service areas.

Instead, our approach has been to embrace existing technologies, working with best of breed providers who are experts in their service area, and to consolidate those services with the single sign in My Southwark account.

Taking this approach has meant we have been able to offer our customers a wide spectrum of self-service tools for a relatively low cost, using an agile, iterative methodology.

Since August 2013, the suite of services available through My Southwark has expanded to include:

  • Community council forums
  • Links to “My support choices”
  • Housing self-service, (in partnership with Northgate) including:
    • access to rent accounts
    • access to leaseholder and garage accounts
    • access to repairs history
    • ability to report a new repair
  • Register to vote
  • Online consultations

As at the end of January 2015 more than 92,000 people had registered for a My Southwark account with 42,000 linking to a revenues and benefits account.

In addition:

  • Over 600 new people register each week
  • 11,000 accounts viewed each month
  • 5,000 accounts now linked to a rent / leaseholder account (in just 3 months)
  • Over 84,000 log-ins to council tax and benefits accounts in 2013 (from 52,000 in 2012)
  • Over 34,000 eforms were submitted by My Southwark account holders in the past 12 months
  • 31% of all eforms are submitted by account holders

The future...

But we are far from resting on our laurels, and the next 12 months will see a number of further enhancements and additions to My Southwark. These are not limited to but will include:

  • new fully responsive design
  • One Touch Online – apply for multiple services in a single process, based on life events such as moving into Southwark – delivered as part of registration or as a customer triggered event
  • officers able to create My Southwark accounts for customers (e.g. at tenancy sign up)
  • single sign-in to parking accounts
  • roll out of the free swim and gym programme
  • integration of online payments to eforms & My Southwark

We believe that our ambitious plans for the ongoing development of My Southwark provide a unique platform for achieving a digital by default culture together with our key development partners, Web-Labs and their Digital Transformation Platform.