Find out about careers in our technology and change service.

Try something different - try technology and change

Technology and change is at the heart of change initiatives across the Council, working with a wide range of services including highways, adult and children’s social care, health, schools, adult education, libraries, highways, trading standards and countryside services, as well as working with partners in the public, private and voluntary sector. It incorporates our ICT, projects and change teams, working together to provide digital solutions, with a wide range of exciting career opportunities whatever your level of qualification or experience.​

The next five years will continue to witness significant changes across the whole of the public sector. But there will still be a need to provide high levels of service to our customers set against the backdrop of reduced budgets, citizens’ changing needs and changing expectations.

With these new challenges will come new opportunities - working with communities to develop innovative approaches to service delivery, innovative use of technology to generate efficiencies; more customer self-service and 'digital by default' services; exploring commercial opportunities to generate income; introducing alternative ways of delivering services and new ways of working.

If you have a 'can do' attitude, strong interpersonal skills, a performance focus, ability to influence key stakeholders and take them with you, have experience of being involved in change projects to a variety of stakeholders’ matched with creativity, passion and resilience then we look forward to receiving your application for posts in one of our teams.

Being 'digital by default' enables greater flexibility around where you choose to work from and means that working from home or remote working from another office is one of the major benefits to working for the council. This connectivity can ensure that in extreme weather conditions people can safely work from home instead of risking a treacherous journey.

Northallerton also has great connectivity through the road and rail networks, being close to the A1 but also on the main north / south train line. Technology and change is based at County Hall, which is two minutes' walk from the train station and makes the daily commute much less stressful!

If you live a bit further afield and the commute would be an issue then the options to work from home two or three days a week could be considered, depending on service needs. Due to the digital nature of the functions that we perform, many people enjoy the benefits that this flexibility affords.

Technology and change teams

You can read about some of the teams within technology and change and the work they do below:

The teams in Digital and Transformation Services are responsible for working with all North Yorkshire County Council services to identify, define and plan changes to deliver service improvements and cashable savings. This includes developing innovative approaches to service delivery, innovative use of technology to generate efficiencies; more customer self-service and 'digital by default' services; exploring commercial opportunities to generate income; introducing alternative ways of delivering services and new ways of working.

Digital and transformation teams work with a range of internal and external stakeholders, including senior managers and staff across the council and partner organisations to ensure the successful delivery of programmes and projects. 

Teams in Digital and Transformation Services include:

Projects and Programmes - planning and implementation of projects and programmes, using appropriate methodologies, including PRINCE2, agile and MSP ensuring that they are delivered on time and within budget - working closely with project sponsors, project boards and senior service area managers.

Business Change - provision of a facilitated, collaborative space to enable the design and delivery of change. Working closely with service experts across the council to facilitate the development of new processes and solutions through business analysis, requirements definition, organisational design and business process mapping services. 

Digital Products and Services - delivery, continued improvement and support of digital products and applications via product managers; business analysis to support the creation and re-use of business patterns, to ensure all products are built to the required standards and increase speed to deliver; creating technical design patterns/standards that meet the user’s needs in terms of usability and accessibility. Use of product management and digital software development techniques such as agile and scrum.

Development - working alongside the Digital Products and Services team to design, develop, test, deploy and maintain secure and reliable custom-made software and integration solutions for web technologies, applications, data integration, business process automation and information systems. Ensuring existing and future software applications, used by the council, are secure, reliable and continue to meet the business needs.

Technology Services are responsible for the delivery and support of professional services that facilitate the use of technology which underpins all the council’s services and some of its partner’s services. The current customer base is approximately 7,000 council staff.

There is a strong commitment to Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) aligned best practice and a focus on continual service improvement to ensure that customers can deliver robust, reliable services. The team also works with regional and national partnerships on shared technology infrastructure and services.

Technology services also implements a range of technical ICT solutions and business improvement projects some of which are complex in nature.

Teams in Technology Services include:

Digital Workplace - drawing together the provision and second line support for of all the enabling devices, peripherals and office productivities tools that reside on them. Maximising the effective use of digital office technologies, productivity software, digital communications, including collaborative technologies, and digital information systems. Product areas include Asset and Request Management, Field Technicians and a product team supporting and enabling the business benefit of office productivity tools such as Office 365 and off the shelf PC software.

Corporate Systems - central support and development of the council’s key line of business applications including adult and children’s social care, education and case management systems.

Unified Communications, Endpoint and Security - supporting a wide area computer network of over 140 sites with data, voice and video communications. Responsible for a wide range of technologies that are vital to the day-to-day running of the council and are relied upon by most users for them to undertake their roles, including network, telephony, security, email, messaging, endpoint, Citrix, application packaging, patching and anti-virus. Deployment of monitoring tools to proactively alert on various issues across systems, endeavouring to provide 100 per cent availability of services.

Core Infrastructure and Applications - management and operation of the council’s datacentres, core systems and IT disaster recovery capability to ensure all equipment runs in a suitable and controlled environment. Responsible for management of our data storage and server estate (virtual and physical) including capacity, availability, resilience and security of all elements of infrastructure across the estate. 

Technology Solutions are responsible for taking the council's new and changing service requirements and creating technical solutions that provide their outcomes.

There is a strong emphasis on creating digital services that both improve customer experience and create efficiencies within the organisation. As well as building new services we are involved in maximising the use of data across the authority including its security, governance and analysis.

There is a strong commitment to compliance regimes including ITIL, ISO 27001 and architecture principles which guide all new development work to ensure the integrity of the council's infrastructure.

Technology solutions works with all areas of the council to support business improvement projects that vary in scale and complexity.

Teams in Technology Solutions include:

Business Relationship Management - provides the link between the business and technology and change, ensuring that we understand the current and future requirements of service areas.

Portfolio and Service Management Office - portfolio management supports organisational decision making to ensure that we invest in the ‘right’ projects and programmes and provides the organisation with oversight of the entire change portfolio ensuring regular reviews in terms of resource management, progress, costs, risks and benefits.  Service Management provides oversight of the definition and architecture of Technology and Change Services ensuring international standards in service management are met and ensuing governance in in place for implementing, maintaining and improving IT services and service delivery standards.

Resource Management - Delivers a consistent picture or resourcing across the service, reports on where and when resource is allocated, and identifies and resolves any conflict in resourcing.

Enterprise Architecture - sets the principles that all infrastructure and development adheres to and monitors all new work.

Solutions - work with the business on new projects to create technical solutions that deliver the required outcomes.

Data Governance - oversee the use of information as an asset across the organisation and support services in meeting compliance requirements and data quality targets.

Security - lead on the technical security of the infrastructure ensuring that it has technical and procedural measures in place to maintain the council’s security posture.

The Customer Service Centre is a single point of access for the customers of North Yorkshire County Council. We aim to resolve the customer query at first contact or will locate the correct person to do so whether internal or external.

We provide front door support for commissioned services such as Highways, Registrars, Adult Learning Services, Adults and Children’s Social Care, creating requests to those services where required and providing advice and guidance in other instances. 

We also act as an access point for non-commissioned services such as Admissions, Facility Management, Finance, and Employment Support as a signposting facility.

Teams in Customer Services include:

Forecasting and Planning

The team (Intraday) forecast and constantly review contacts into the customer service centre to build schedules and rotas to meet customer demand across all channels. Many different metrics are used to measure performance and using this data we dynamically adjust our staffing skills and capabilities to meet our customer needs. We have several different systems and products to regularly validate data and optimise future schedules as needed and these also allow us to model different services or products to launch alongside expected customer contact and channel specifications.

Customer Service Advisors

Customer Service Advisors provide the following services:

Frontline - high volume of daily contacts by phone, web chat, email and online forms. Commissioned to take calls for numerous services such as Highways, Registrars and Educations services but receive calls regarding all areas of the council.

Social Care - answer calls from public and professionals for children's and adult social care services. We do an initial assessment of customers which in some instances will result in a referral to a professional team. For lower-level needs we signpost to alternative services where support can be accesses in the community or via a third sector organisation. Demand from these services has increased dramatically in recent years from around 5,000 contacts per month in 2014 to 10,000 in 2018. 

Service Delivery - initially set up to provide blue badge and bus pass service but has expanded to take on all other off phone tasks including but not limited to hospital assessment notifications and discharges, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, Tell us once and emergency cards for carers. This service is currently going through significant change with the redesign of access to bus pass and blue badge services. 

Outbound - provides targeted outbound calling campaigns for different services at different periods. We use a dialler to enable an efficient automated process to enable a high call success rate, we can also support services by targeting emails or texts prior to making outbound calls to drive contacts to a digital/online solution if applicable.

Emergency Duty / Care and Support / Multi-Agency Screening - emergency duty team provide out of hours social care cover for adults and children’s services for the council and City of York Council and staff provide cover until 10pm, seven days a week. Care and Support Team prioritise our response to new adult contacts. The Multi-Agency Screening Team (MAST) aim to prioritise North Yorkshire County Council's response to child contacts.

Technology and Change Service Desk

The service centre provides a single point of contact for all council staff ICT requirements. We aim for a 50% or above first contact resolution rate (using remote control technology and a knowledge base). We are trained on all latest council technology so that we can advise users and help them with best practice techniques. The service centre is responsible for dealing with a variety of different service requests and service incidents which are managed using our call management system (Ivanti).

We also deliver the IT service for several commercial services i.e. Selby District Council, North Yorkshire Highways and Schools ICT.

Customer Demand Channel Managers

The Demand Channel Managers aim to understand customer / user demand for a service or product (volumes, type and channel) and what drives unnecessary demand and a poor customer experience. We also support the design and launch of new and changed services across all channels; work with corporate communication to build marketing campaigns to drive customer behaviour change; and work with wider Technology and Change teams and service areas to continually review and improve services and customer experience.

Our commercial vision is “To provide value adding services whilst increasing our resilience and capacity to deliver and support improved outcomes for North Yorkshire County Council and its customers”. 

Our size, experience and breadth of skills enable us to deliver services to external organisations that represents real value for them whilst also generating income for North Yorkshire County Council to re-invest in critical services.  

Commercial Services delivers traded services to external customers through both the NYES Digital Team for the education sector and through the majority of other teams within Technology and Change for other customers from the private sector, voluntary and community sector, care sector and other local authorities, depending on the profile and needs of the customer.

NYES Digital is a fully traded service of North Yorkshire County Council. This means that we generate income by selling services to customers on a commercial basis. After all costs are covered (staff, overheads and accommodation) all the revenue is used to help the council fund front line services. 

Our main customers are schools and academies in North Yorkshire and our aspiration is to expand and do more business out of county and to develop our wider commercial offerings.

We also support the wider council to support it’s commercial objectives where there is a need for Technology and Change solutions to enable the delivery of those services.

The Data and Intelligence team enables a decisive, informed organisation through the provision of high quality data and intelligence solutions.

Data and intelligence is all about access, presentation and analysis of data. Our remit is to support the business by developing means of gaining access to information often locked away inside other systems or locations, transform that information into something useful and help the business present it in a way that supports their ability to improve their service.

The team provides expertise and support in the pulling together of data for returns to external bodies; dashboard products so that services can understand their own performance; products to enhance a services ability to support day to day decisions; and data design expertise to technical teams so that we might best design data flows through systems. The team builds data products using techniques such as artificial intelligence and / or machine learning and provides a centre of excellence to support the use of data and mapping tools.

Read about Jemma's success in the Corporate Systems Team

"If you’d asked me in my teens about going to Uni, the response would’ve been no. I was focused on joining the RAF as Physical Training Instructor, specialising in parachuting! How very different my career path has been! So I am very grateful for the opportunity and being able to apply and be accepted on the degree programme. I thought, why not, what have I got to lose?! Four years down the line, in my 40th birthday year I have achieved a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Business Management and Leadership. I have definitely grown as a person, and I even believe that it has aided my career progression to now be a Product Owner within the Corporate Systems Team."

The work we do - technology and change projects and awards

Some of the significant and award winning projects we have completed in recent years:

Project aims and objectives

Image of the Buy Local system being used on a smartphone.The early weeks of lockdown introduced self-isolation and shielding to North Yorkshire’s most vulnerable residents. Uncertainty, panic buying and general increased demand left some goods and services unavailable to sections of society. Likewise, local businesses were unable to trade in the conventional way. The solution needed to put local businesses in touch with customers in an effective and trusted way.

The idea came from the local economy work stream through its desire to help people to buy locally. The digital and customer team suggested the improvement to the initial solution of a list held on the North Yorkshire County Council website, based on their experience of managing this type of information for community services. Initial discussions with the local economy workstream chair were held to agree the most appropriate approach.

As well as the core teams listed above there was key input from our data and governance and legal services teams.

This is a new business directory built to put greater control at the hands of the user and done so under incredible time and regulatory pressure. Time was of the essence. The faster the service was launched, the greater its usefulness to our residents.

By replicating an existing product (the NYConnect community directory) we were able to improve the solution, which was initially holding data on a website, with an overhead to keep up to date and constraints around data governance and sharing consent. We turned this into a model where data owners (businesses and service providers) sign up, consent, and are able to keep their own information up to date. We were able to give customers the function to search what types of products they were looking for and directly contact local businesses.

The service put their trust an existing technical solution, which was already in use by customers. This saved months of time usually spent understanding requirements, defining and designing. The technical team were able to deliver a product that met core requirements within four days and took an agile and iterative approach to further tweak where necessary, based on customer usage and feedback and later on where COVID-19 restrictions eased.

The achievements

Buy Local is a free online business directory developed to connect residents with businesses and tradespeople operating under COVID-19 restrictions in their local area. Developed in direct response to consumer demand in the first uncertain weeks of national lockdown to find local solutions online and assist local business to provide essential goods and services.

Buy Local was developed exceptionally fast, as circumstances demanded, and has put consumers in touch with local businesses through a clear, user-friendly platform.

This has been a truly collaborative approach across the Council. In particular, the following teams made a significant contribution:

  • digital team - for their exceptionally quick and responsive design and implementation
  • customer service centre - outbound calling to businesses across the area
  • communications - who researched and produced stories and case studies which brought the directory to life. Also highly successful media campaigns that brought people to the site
  • trading standards - for checking and supporting all the businesses listed
  • COVID-19 local economy work stream - for striving to invigorate the local economy in such difficult circumstances
  • growth and heritage services - developing the idea of the a local directory

The customer experience was simplified. The solution put 750 businesses in one place. Customers were able to access up to date information on one highly functioning platform. In addition, the process for businesses providing the information was simple and already tested, balancing verification and consent with timeliness and detail.

The customer experience was made more accessible by building the site to accessibility standards, as opposed to a PDF or Word document or a simple long list of business that would not be easy to navigate. Routes to the site were made known through excellent communications and links through other local authorities.

The customer is more connected with other services, notably with trading standards.

The trading standards service checked each applicant to the scheme and was able to engage positively with businesses who initially gave concern, giving them advice and guidance which enabled them to achieve compliance with relevant legislation and allow their entry to the scheme. This enabled the trading standards service to reach businesses it would not have had contact with otherwise and it is hoped that their positive experience on this occasion will encourage them to seek advice as required in the future. This is a good outcome for those businesses and also for the residents and other consumers with whom they trade.

Finally, the experience was made quicker for customers. Functionality within the tool enabled customers to search by business type, area or key word to help them quickly connect with relevant businesses and provided a direct link to their website and social media accounts.

Benefits and efficiency delivered

  • since the site launched there have been almost 74,000 visits to the site
  • visitors have clicked the links to business websites 2,800 times. One business has received 80 visits to their website
  • there have been 53 telephone clicks, 639 email clicks and 3,358 clicks for further information about the services
  • in terms of the speed of the creation of the site and its usefulness in providing essential services, the shopping element of the site alone was visited 1,385 times in April 2020. Residents wanted and used this site.

These figures show that customers have been put in contact with local businesses when they needed them most.

The site went live in April 2020 and has been updated in response to customer feedback and as lockdown restrictions, we have updated the site to enable businesses to use it as a platform to support the ways they are trading.

Awards

This project was a finalist in the 'Effective Information Sharing & Security Award' category of the iNetwork awards 2020.

The associated video for this project won the 'Most Creative Video' category of the iNetwork awards 2020.

Buy local business directory video

Project aims and objectives

The wellbeing of residents in care homes is paramount. That means every aspect of wellbeing, from physical to mental. A conversation with a loved one and being able to see their face makes a massive difference to people living in care homes and allowing them to stay connected during the unprecedented times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is vital.

The UK government introduced strict lockdown measures in March 2020 to limit the spread of coronavirus, encouraging people to stay at home and only go outside for essential trips such as exercise, food shopping or to collect prescriptions.

Delivery of traditional primary care service models proved to be difficult under COVID-19 with site visits potentially increasing the risk of infection being brought into the care home.

Many healthcare services were reconfigured to adhere to these new measures, which meant that most face-to-face appointments were replaced with telephone or online consultations.

Under normal circumstances, in-person visits to care homes are always welcome. They provide great comfort and vital clinical support to residents as well as allowing staff to keep in contact with the important people in the lives of the residents themselves. When those visits from loved ones and primary care clinicians were no longer possible it was necessary to use alternative means of keeping those essential contacts going.

Maintaining face-to-face contact between residents, their loved ones and clinicians involved in their care:

  • would be possible using remote and virtual applications already available to members of the public, social care workers and primary care clinicians
  • would require all care homes to have the necessary equipment to access these applications and have the necessary support to staff
  • would require coordination between local organisations involved in supporting care homes

In response to this, two complementary initiatives were designed and delivered at pace and scale across the care homes in North Yorkshire.

The North Yorkshire clinical commissioning group deployed 202 tablets to North Yorkshire care homes alongside an additional 30 “consumer” video calling devices deployed by North Yorkshire County Council to its own elderly persons homes. Both initiatives were at a time when all parts of the health and care sector were under significant operational pressure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, infection prevention control measures together with essential social distancing meant the delivery and handover of all these devices had to be carefully organised and managed through close working between the clinical commissioning group and council digital support teams, and a local community hub (Nidderdale Plus).

Sandra Anderson, director at the Millings Care Home in the North Yorkshire town of Bedale, said:

"From our first try we had a really good experience using the device. Residents were really happy with how it worked and we found it to be a really efficient way to contact healthcare professionals."

The achievements

All the devices were delivered through collaboration between the North Yorkshire clinical commissioning group and council digital teams, supported by the local voluntary sector organisation Nidderdale Plus. Deliveries were undertaken within strict infection control measures.

The deployment of the devices has been followed up by a structured survey and evaluation report commissioned by the North Yorkshire clinical commissioning group. In addition, regular usage data was analysed to assess the amount of activity taking place through the devices.

The devices can also be utilised by staff to access essential training sessions and materials and also to access applications such as self-care apps targeted towards a resident’s particular condition.

Feedback from care home staff, residents and primary care clinicians was obtained and fed into the evaluation process.

Some of the feedback received for the care home tablets and video calling devices project:

"Great initiative that we hope will continue after the pandemic restrictions are eased."

"Very useful project to enable increase in use of technology and improve ways of working during current pandemic."

"It’s really wonderful for our residents to be able to see the faces of their loved ones - we’ve had a few happy tears from them."

"Having the tablets has been invaluable during this crisis when residents can’t see their friends or families when normally, having visits would be the highlight of their day."

"It means families can have ‘virtual visits’ and it’s been brilliant."

"It gives everyone reassurance and peace of mind - families know their relatives in the care home are fine and it’s good for the resident’s mental health and stops them feeling isolated and locked in."

"Only that it is a great support. Much better to be able to see the GP during a consultation for our residents, rather than a telephone call. I have seen residents interacting with the calls and enjoying the experience."

"I feel that the use of technology i.e. video calls would be of great benefit to use going forward when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. It reduces the amount of people coming into the home. Also one of our residents has attended and enjoyed weekly alcohol and anxiety groups. In the past he has not attended these groups, he says that he is attending due to been in his home environment."

"Reduced need to physically visit means patients are more likely to get a face to face consultation, although virtual. It also frees up clinical time that otherwise would have been spent travelling to and from the care home. More regular review of our patients has been possible."

"The main difficulty is that for elderly residents with visual or hearing impairment, they struggle to engage with the tablet. It still enables me to see them however."

"I have found it helpful to examine overall well being, breathing, rashes, to do memory assessments. The obvious benefit it that it has significantly reduced the number of visits in person required. This has two benefits: Firstly reduced risk of infection spread, and secondly, it does save time for GPs too."

Awards

This project was a finalist in the 'Partner Excellence Award' category of the iNetwork awards 2020.

Project aims and objectives

Image of the Blue Badge system being used on a smartphone.In 2018, we embarked on a project to transform the blue badge service. We identified much room for improvement due to:

  • Poor customer experience
  • Poor online experience resulting in low uptake and high drop-off
  • A disjointed application process
  • Poor online payment platform
  • No shortcut renewal process for people classed as ‘permanently disabled’
  • A four to six week wait for receipt of a badge

There were also inefficient processes associated with the service:

  • Only 17 per cent of applications completed online (vs phone)
  • Complications and delays around assessments
  • Delays due to matching payments and chasing evidence
  • Unnecessary assessment processes
  • Receipt of cheques resulting in high processing costs
  • Many customers opting to pay over the phone rather than online
  • Geographically inconsistent face-to-face offering

Following significant business change analysis, we chose to completely redesign the service through:

  • Creating an intuitive online application including screening and scoring tools
  • Systems integration with in-house and Department for Transport systems
  • Redesigned back-office processes
  • Creation of a data dashboard to allow monitoring of service performance and customer behaviour
  • Adherence to our customer and digital strategies

The achievements

Through implementing a new customer platform, badge management system and revised back-office processes the service has achieved:

  • Average 92 per cent applications completed online (previously 17 per cent)
  • Reduced time for receipt of badge (average of less than ten days against a previous time of four to six weeks)
  • £70k of annual savings
  • Efficient process and back office system have eradicated backlogs
  • Improved customer satisfaction ratings and feedback
  • Streamlined phone process that has removed significant wastage

There is now a rich data dashboard to monitor service performance and customer behaviour. This has been achieved through:

  • Cross functional project team (including service team leader, project manager, solution analyst, business change officer, UX designer, software developer and systems team officer)
  • Alignment to customer and digital strategies
  • Ongoing customer engagement and user testing
  • Process engineering
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Automated online decisions
  • User centric design and prototyping
  • Agile development approach
  • Consistent approach for ‘exceptions’
  • Culture change within the business to support moving customers to the online channel
  • Creating face-to-face ‘digital assistance’ model in libraries to support customers who need it

The project team were key to arriving at the correct outcome through analysing and challenging in order to arrive at a proposal that created a compelling business case.

The secondment of the service team leader onto the project provided the dedicated input required, allowing timely decisions, and was integral to the service redesign. This was an innovative approach for us and required significant investment and upskilling, but paid off through the success of the end product.

This role also linked to the utilisation of user feedback. Customer engagement sessions allowed us to challenge existing assumptions about customers, and ask directly what is right for them. The project has provided a best practice way to develop other customer facing services whilst ensuring efficiency and savings. The principles included:

  • Start with customer needs
  • Do less (reduce spend)
  • Design with data
  • Do the hard work to make it simple for customers
  • Iterate, and use feedback
  • Build for inclusion
  • Understand context and always focus on the customer
  • Encourage innovation
  • Be consistent. Use the same language where possible
  • Make things open. Provide clear and honest guidance about services and eligibility

Awards

This project was a finalist in the 'Transforming & Innovating Public Services Award' category of the iNetwork awards 2019.

The associated video for this project won the 'Most Creative Video' category of the iNetwork awards 2019.

Blue badge service transformation video

Project aims and objectives

Image of the Harrogate parking app being used on a smartphone.How many of us have had that daunting feeling when visiting a new town or city, whether for work or pleasure, and not knowing where to park? Or facing the dilemma of whether there will be any spaces left, how much is it going to cost and will I have enough change?

That frantic rummaging for loose change in the centre console is now long forgotten in Harrogate town centre.

Harrogate Borough Council operates its own off-street car parks as well as managing on-street car parking on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council. In 2017, in partnership with county colleagues, they began exploring smart parking as one element of a local digital and connectivity programme.

There was growing evidence that Harrogate was not immune to the climate of declining footfall and retail performance. Congestion had also become a local issue and there was a lack of evidence to support strategic decisions around parking assets. Research suggested smart parking had the potential to improve the customer experience, support the local visitor economy and enhance data-driven decision making.

Late in 2017 Harrogate Borough Council applied to an innovation competition fund and were subsequently chosen as the preferred destination to introduce a unique smart parking solution. The cost of the hardware and installation would be met by the fund.

After careful consideration of the available evidence, both Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council were bold enough to recognise the opportunity and potential benefits of a pioneering project, albeit implemented on a two-year trial basis.

The primary risk to the local authorities was the shift to minute-by-minute parking charging. A ‘linear’ pricing model is considered fairer to the customer but was uncommon in the UK. We decided that with an appropriate minimum charge, the benefits to the customer would outweigh the risks to us if it was monitored closely.

So how does smart parking work in Harrogate town centre?

A total of 2,200 surface mounted sensors were installed in all ‘paid for’ on-street parking bays and off-street surface level car parks.

The sensor can determine if a space is occupied in real time and provides this information to a free smartphone app used by the motorist. It also confirms the cost for each parking space and the hours of availability.

In practice

The app allows the motorist to navigate the most efficient route to the parking space that suits their needs and avoid areas where there is no available parking. On arrival, the motorist starts their parking session via the app with one click or they can still choose to pay and display in the traditional way.

A key benefit for both the motorist and the high street is that the motorist does not have to predict how long they will be in the bay and the session automatically ends when the car leaves. Payment is taken for the minutes parked, plus a convenience fee of 20p for each parking session.

How many of us have had to end visits to the high street abruptly for fear of the parking ticket running out? This smart parking solutions takes the worry away.

The system has also been integrated within the town’s two ‘barriered’ car parks through the use of automatic number plate recognition cameras. Motorists, who include their car registration in the app, can automatically enter and exit the car park and are charged accordingly.

The cross-party work included amendments to traffic management orders and the installation of two low powered wide area network antennas on council buildings. The key technical challenge related to the integration with various suppliers and platforms to deliver a seamless experience for users.

The achievements

During the first 18 months of the trial, take-up was encouraging. A total of 140,000 smart parking sessions were conducted by around 10,000 individual customers, equating to around ten per cent of all parking sessions.

As the project was a trial it was important to understand the benefits to the motorist as well as the two local authorities. Therefore customer feedback was essential, and 627 smart parking users were surveyed in 2020, with the results showing:

Improved customer experience

  • 83 per cent of users said using smart parking alleviates stress normally associated with using a pay and display machine
  • 93 per cent said it is more convenient than using a pay and display machine
  • 89 per cent believed the solution is fairer and makes parking easier.

Benefit to the local economy

  • the smart parking trial has supported a positive vision for the town centre
  • 62 per cent of users said they stay longer in Harrogate town centre as a result of not worrying about a pay and display ticket expiring
  • 60 per cent said they were more likely to park in Harrogate because they can pay via the app

Benefit to the environment

  • the trial has resulted in fewer miles being driven in Harrogate town centre
  • 32 per cent of users said they now check availability in-app before they arrive at their destination
  • 56 per cent of users have saved time finding a car parking space

Improved operational and strategic insight

Smart parking has provided both authorities with real-time capacity data, payment data and overstay data for parking across the town. The data has also acted as a robust evidence base for the recent parking review that will support town centre master planning in the future.

Financial benefit to the councils

The average session derived an additional 50p off-street and 25p on-street compared with customers who chose to pay and display. This is driven by:

  • no rushing back by the customer to avoid a parking ticket
  • the customer paying immediately upon arrival (89 per cent of users said the app saves them time compared with displaying a ticket)
  • the customer paying for the entire duration of their stay (i.e. the session ends when they drive away)
  • further financial benefits have been made through reduced transaction costs as well as less cash management

Financial benefit to the customer

Despite the 20p convenience fee, more often than not smart parking is cheaper for the customer than pay and display as they only pay for the minutes they use and do not overpay within a block purchase of time.

Following the success of the trial Harrogate Borough Council are currently exploring implementing a permanent solution.

Awards

This project won the 'Innovation of the Year' category at the LGC Awards 2020.

Project aims and objectives

In 2020, people's lives were changed dramatically. People required to shield were unable to leave their homes under almost any circumstances. 

In response to this, we brought together service delivery from a number of community support organisations. 

The achievements

With the help of 23 community support organisations and over 3,000 volunteers, we were able to mobilise support for those shielding in just four days.

We implemented a technology solution to quickly deploy volunteers to where they're needed most. A new team, 'U+' was established to bring together data, technology and volunteers in a way that has never been achieved before.

As a result, between April and October 2020, the community support organisations were able to:

  • delivered 22,135 bags of food shopping
  • delivered 21,968 hot meals
  • delivered 13,091 prescriptions
  • made 31,985 welfare and befriending calls
  • have had contact with 60,567 residents

There were also:

  • 40,000 text messages sent
  • 24,000 letters sent out
  • 140,000 telephone calls to check people were managing and to follow up previous contacts
  • 2,500 face-to-face contacts

Awards

This project won the 'People's Choice Award' of the North Yorkshire County Council Innovation Awards 2020.

Shielding response team video

How technology and change are improving digital accessibility

Our NYCC & Me podcast features a thought-provoking conversation on digital accessibility with colleagues from technology and change...

You can watch the full episode here (opens new window to play on YouTube).

Why work for us?

Technology and change is an exciting, innovative and friendly service to work for with staff committed to supporting services across the council to deliver the best possible outcomes to our local residents.

Our staff are structured into teams providing centres of excellence for the council on key activities including: programme and project management, change management, solutions analysis, coding, security, information assurance, technical architecture, business intelligence, data governance and systems administration.

Recently the council’s contact resolution centre also moved into technology and change, providing further opportunities to push forward with our digital agenda ensuring self-help and automation wherever possible for accessing and delivering council services.

We have recently expanded our commercial activities, helping to generate additional income for the council and building on our very successful schools ICT commercial service which has been providing services to schools for over 25 years. 

We are fully committed to developing our staff and offer graduate and apprentice opportunities as well as providing training and development as they progress in their career. We are developing career pathways across our service to enable staff to move sideways and upwards as they develop. We positively encourage flexible working and provide staff with the technology they need to work from a wide variety of locations and from home.

This is an exciting opportunity to join an ambitious team during a time of considerable change, and contribute to the challenges and opportunities that exist, both present and future.

If you would like to play a key part in delivering this ambition then we would like to hear from you.

Robert Ling 2 WEB.jpg

Robert Ling, Assistant Director - Technology and Change

North Yorkshire really is a stunning, vibrant county with safe communities and excellent education. Over the past two years the new national crime figures have revealed North Yorkshire to be the safest place in England. It is rich in heritage and culture, in a back drop of outstanding natural beauty, vibrant cities, market towns, quaint villages, stunning rural and coast landscapes. We can also boast having three towns in the top ten of the UK halifax quality of life survey

If you are considering relocating to North Yorkshire we provide a comprehensive  relocation benefits package (pdf / 180 KB) (subject to eligibility) and as a whole North Yorkshire offers some great employment opportunities for your family members along with a substantial number of good to outstanding performing schools. A simply stunning location to live and work, we really do have it all!

The county benefits from excellent road and rail links, with easy access via the east coast mainline, the A1(M) and A19. Leeds, York, Newcastle, Durham and Teesside are all easily commutable, and London just two hours away by train. North Yorkshire borders the Lake District, Lancashire, County Durham, and Yorkshire & Humber regions with all they have to offer.

Would you like to work in our technology and change team?

Feel free to send us your CV to ResourcingSolutions@northyorks.gov.uk. As soon as we find you compatible with an opening, we will get back to you.

Current Technology and Change opportunities

Found 6 jobs