Digital Leaders in Salford

Digital Leaders banner - Overall DL100 winner 2023 and Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year Winner 2023

Our pioneering approach to improving services for residents has been recognised nationally at the 2023 Digital Leaders awards which celebrates organisations leading digital transformation. Not only did the council win Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year for its delivery of the government’s energy rebate scheme, it was also named Overall DL100 Winner!

The Digital Leaders judges were impressed with how the council proactively sought opportunities to improve its service delivery and add value for customers throughout the energy rebate claim process – on top of paying over half its 116,00 households before many local authorities had made any payments.

Ethel's digital story

Ethel (aged in her 70s) visited Walkden Gateway for help with her energy rebate application as she didn’t have any digital skills to complete the form and was also struggling with isolation and limited mobility. As she was interested in learning digital skills, the council gifted her a tablet as well as referring her to a Tech and Tea class run by Inspiring Communities.

Ethel’s feedback: “Thank you, thank you. Today is a fantastic day! I haven’t walked around with a smile on my face for a long time until today. It will give me a life back. Without the internet I am stuck so this gives me a new way to keep in touch with people.”

By inviting residents to apply for the rebate digitally through a Salford Customer Account (SCA) which links into existing systems, this enabled us to understand our customer base better and identify other ways in which we can help. We highlighted to residents the other benefits of using the SCA service besides getting their rebate payment quicker.

Comments on our social media channels about the energy rebate:

  • "One of the quickest councils to do so, many still not paid out"
  • "I got mine a few days after my DD went out"
  • "Received mine within 2 weeks of my first instalment of this year’s council tax being paid by Direct Debit"
  • "Good on you Salford, I got mine few days after my Direct Debit went out"
  • "Got mine last week, no probs"
  • "I had mine paid straight into the bank"

For example, we used the opportunity to gather information about households such as checking they were getting council tax discounts they were entitled to, particularly with student households. This approach helped us successfully reach parts of the city that don’t usually digitally transact with us including many who live in the most deprived areas. This means we can now continue to reach out to them with ongoing support through digital channels making it easier for people to communicate with us. We also encouraged customers to sign up to paperless bills, so they can store them online and easily retrieve when they need it.

For customers who didn’t have digital access, council staff offered face to face and telephone support for the application process also showing how useful getting online was for other things in life too. Delivering the scheme in this way also helped us identify people who were struggling to get online and since then, we’ve helped 1,500 of those with connectivity and digital skills. Our digital inclusion team are working through other residents identified in need of digital support by offering support from skills, recycled council laptops and access to lending libraries. We’re committed to supporting residents to gain digital skills so that nobody is left behind. For help to do more online confidently and safely, find local support, go to our Digital Everyone website.

Steven Fry, Director of Customer and Digital Services also commented: “Winning overall DL100 for the second time is testament to our ambitious vision for the city to create a fairer and more inclusive local economy that ensures digital technologies are available to everyone. We’re proud to be the forefront on digital change, innovation and digital inclusion programmes to the benefit of our residents.”

For more information check the press release about our award win.

Winning the awards was a fantastic finale to Digital Leaders Week, a celebratory week for sharing digital ideas and initiatives, in which we presented seven events to peers in the sector.

Salford City Council is proud to have been nationally recognised at the Digital Leader awards several times in recent years:

  • 2018 - Digital Council of the Year winner for digitally transforming the way it provides services to the public as well and Overall DL100 Winner
  • 2021 - Pandemic Digital Innovation of the Year award winner for the Spirit of Salford helpline
  • 2022 - Runner up in the Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year award category (for the development of a digital exclusion risk index). We were also shortlisted for Digital Skills or Talent Initiative of the year (working with partners to support over 10,000 residents with kit, connectivity and skills)
  • 2023 – Winner of Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year for the way in which it delivered the government’s energy rebate scheme and Overall DL100 winner 2023
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