Discovery into understanding citizen requirements to implement a Digital Privacy Policy

Full Application: Not funded at this stage

  • Digital ethics and privacy are growing concerns for individuals, organisations and governments. Consumers are increasingly aware their personal information is valuable and are demanding control. Organisations recognise the increasing risk of securing and managing personal data, and governments are implementing strict legislation to ensure they do.

Consequently Digital ethics and privacy are becoming critical elements of any technology decision. This trend is not simply about compliance. By 2021, organisations that bought compliance risk and are caught lacking in privacy protection will pay 100% more in compliance cost than competitors that adhere to best practices. Best practice means focusing not only on what you have to do but on what you should do ethically with regard to issues such as specific applications of AI or the creation of digital twins of people for marketing purposes.

Without understanding what is important to our citizens and implementing/extending online Portals with a privacy framework will lead to barriers in adopting transformational technologies such as AI solutions.

Dependencies include third party providers who manage or store data on council’s behalf and councils themselves. Technology solutions involving use of AI; robotics must be considered; whether third-party or developed internally. Legislation such as GDPR must be taken into consideration to support any proposal alongside citizen requirements.

It is assumed at time of writing; that any proposed solution would require one or more online account to allow individuals to manage their data and privacy setting; a separate discovery bid “Discovery to help understand how we can modernise online council accounts” has been submitted; which is assumed inextricably linked to this discovery, although output from research may invalidate this assumption. It may even be the concept of a council managed account online is questioned.

Reference: Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019

We will look to undertake research across a number of citizens across a number of authorities; to gather and prioritise requirements for a privacy and ethics framework. Some or all of the following techniques should be used making use of existing interfaces such as Council residents panel;

  1. Focus Group
  2. Interview
  3. Observation
  4. Requirements Workshop
  5. Survey

.Requirements will be prioritised using the MoSCoW framework.

User needs will be consolidated and potential to develop a prototype solution which will further enhance the requirements.

We anticipate we will look to use a third party who will define the research methodology to be used, but would seek to follow similar principles as referenced here;

The project partner’s will be fully involved; additionally the following council’s are to be kept updated through digital channels and F2F (as well as opportunity to freely contribute) building upon previous funding bids and network events where strong relationships have been formed.

  • Wirral Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Hambleton Council
  • North Devon Council
  • Calderdale Council
  • Some of the key outcomes from this initial phase are proposed as;
    • Citizen high-level requirements
    • Council high-level requirement in terms of transformation
      • AI/robotics
      • Other digital transformation proposals
    • Current audit of how; what and where personal data is stored across key digital systems (including key third parties such as Firmstep; Microsoft; Google etc.)
    • Solution architecture mock-up with key features
    • Potential costs in terms of;
      • Financial loss of previous benefits when a digital customer reverts to traditional channels such as F2F; telephony.
      • Social costs in terms of reputation of local authorities; citizen satisfaction

Gartner predicts;

  • Through 2020, the number of citizen data scientists will grow five times faster than the number of expert data scientists.
  • By 2022, at least 40% of new application development projects will have artificial intelligence co-developers on the team.


By 2021, organizations that bypass privacy requirements and are caught lacking in privacy protection will pay 100% more in compliance cost than competitors that adhere to best practices.

This is an issue impacting all local authorities; those breathing a huge sigh of relief post GDPR are missing the crux of what all our citizens are actually expecting and demanding; GDPR, and adherence to, should be a given; how data is being used in terms of privacy and ethically is of equal if not greater importance.

In terms of costs this is hard to quantify and will be a key output in the discovery phase; many councils have adopted a GDPR compliance framework; but this does not fully equate to privacy and ethics – the manual nature of dealing with GDPR/SAR requests is a cost many councils can currently afford; but once more and more citizens “go digital” (surely the aspiration for us all) the demand to manage personal data, in ethical terms, will surge and councils will struggle to manage demand without understanding citizen requirements and seeking an automated; transparent solution, with best practice principles.

We will seek to measure the social intangible cost as well as financial costs of failure to manage personal data; for example what-if a digital citizen switches back to more traditional methods of communication (F2F) because they are unhappy how data is being used?

We will look to use existing cross council tools for collaboration where possible; this will be determined if successful but likely to be one of;

  • Microsoft Teams; In its infancy within a number of authorities already
  • SharePoint collaboration/partnershipCheshire East have capability to provide access to our partnership sites for all colleagues
  • Glasscubes workgroup edition; Used successfully for the Blue Badge/DfT project and most authorities already familiar with. Low cost alternative, available on digital marketplace; trusted within local government

The current project methodology within Cheshire East is one of developing solutions via collaborative and agile techniques. As part of this project methodology the following key objectives would form an integral part of successful a delivery.

  • Technical collaboration working collectively to ensure best use and re-use of existing any evolving technical solutions.
  • Business collaboration working constructively with the business to ensure maximum transformational results are achieved
  • Benefits realisation ensuring effective prioritisation and use of various techniques i.e. Agile etc. ensuring that transformational solutions are developed which clearly identify and maximises objectives in customer experience and tangible benefit realisation.
  • Effective Communication internal and external communications channels.We would aim to utilise these key core objectives in effectively and collaboratively working with the other partner councils as part of this delivery ensuring a successful outcome and unified way of working together.

Additional to and in supporting the delivery functions an effective communication strategy will be a critical success factor for project. The communications will underpin the working relationship/set up and provide an effective, robust inclusive communications structure which will allow for consistent communications that can be cascaded both within the individual councils and between each of the participating partner councils.

We will utilise the digital marketplace to submit our requirement to allow us to undertake citizen requirements for managing data and privacy; their current level of trust within local government to manage their personal data and understand requirements;

We also have upcoming sessions with GDS where we can look to cement our knowledge and best practice in terms of project delivery through transitional phases; discovery, beta, alpha etc.