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The borough of Redcar & Cleveland, in the Tees Valley region of the North East, is a relatively small council with big plans to improve services through digital.

The council’s goal is to implement a ‘digital by choice’ strategy – giving both internal and external users the opportunity to interact with the council from anywhere and at anytime.

Alpine recently met the council’s team and quickly realised the scale of its ambition.

However, it also became apparent that given its size and cost constraints, the council faced a number of major challenges in realising this goal.

Most pressing were the costs involved in producing and maintaining apps, low digital skills within the council, and issues around security and threat management and protection. Previously Redcar used a traditional technical development approach for building apps, which had proved lengthy and expensive.

Under this approach it took three months with a team of two to develop one app at a cost of around £25,000, which when multiplied across a range of apps, would amount to a significant investment. It became clear that even with a skilled team of specialists, achieving digital-by-choice would be cost prohibitive for them.

This is where Alpine came in. Working with our strategic digital partner Fliplet (http://fliplet.com/) we created a platform to develop bespoke apps at a fraction of the cost. This enables non-technical users, such as front-line staff, to create apps without having to learn to code. All they need to do to develop the app is use a ‘drag and drop’ tool through a PowerPoint style browser interface.

Anyone familiar with an Office interface and basic computer skills can create and publish functionally usable apps for internal or external users ready to use within hours – rather than months, and at a fraction of the costs. Using this approach, Alpine worked with the council to produce its first app for waste management services.

Now the council is using the platform to create apps across its services. These include case management services, auditing, HR and payroll, and food hygiene inspections – to name a few.

And the major advantage is that because they are so cheap and easy to develop, and the council is in control of its own creations, Redcar & Cleveland can experiment with different services. With the imperative to change services against a backdrop of limited resources, that is a compelling proposition for most authorities – saving them tens of thousands of pounds and allowing many more citizens who are digital-ready to self service.

Contact: Ruby Dixon at Alpine (rdixon@alpine.eu.com) or Gary Flynn at Redcar and Cleveland (gary.flynn@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk) for more information.


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