Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Outcome of Expression of Interest: Invited to apply

We recently compiled a business case justifying internal development of a new digital customer service solution which we’ve begun work on. One for creating, modifying and sharing scripted business process conversations and presenting them, augmented with AI, across multiple surfaces seamlessly, accessibly and consistently, including:

  • Electronic Forms
  • Chatbots and automated agents
  • Voice assistant technologies (Alexa, Google Home, etc)
  • Text messaging
  • IoT devices

Using federated identity and authentication, a customer portal module will complete the offer, enabling personalisation of a multilingual customer experience. Modular integrations will opening up data silo’s in our organisation, enabling service tracking end-to-end.

We see shared value in hosting the solution on a generic domain and offering tenancies to other organisations e.g. Initially we’ll launch an MVP (development is already in progress), iterating collaboratively over its functionality with willing council’s using GitHub and Slack.

It will be compatible with the Jadu facilitated shared library, supporting the open sharing and reuse of user research, service designs, test patterns, technical components and approved service assessments.

The result – a common platform for all local authorities, minimising costs across the sector and leveraging economies of scale.

Discovery evidence

Barnsley, has employed two separate approaches in its attempts over the last 14 years to secure appropriate digital tooling to support the redesign and publication of it’s digital services.

Engaging with suppliers has allowed pre-built services to be deployed quickly but has limited design scope, encouraged lock-in, forced regular re-procurements and attracted additional development charges. In-house efforts have resolved those things, but required high investment. Both cases, have placed heavy demand on our in-house development teams regardless which a low-code approach would avoid.

We find ourselves today offering digital services behind several sets of bespoke branding, customised login credentials, different accessibility levels and inconsistent usability practices. Integration proves difficult and overall customer take-up is limited as a result.


The message for local government is that it’s time to collaborate, share common knowledge and realise that we’re not in competition – our business processes are essentially the same, accepting subtle differences. We don’t all need to be fighting these same issues and undertaking costly procurement exercises frequently. At a time when local government budgets continue to be squeezed, money doesn’t need to flow out of the public purse and into the private sector. We can build and share our tooling.

  • Introduction to user research
  • Introduction to service design
  • Introduction to delivery management
  • Introduction to product management
  • Introduction to digital business analysis