Forms are the lifeblood of our digital service to the public.  They allow citizens to interact with us, either giving us or requesting information, often of a sensitive nature.

We are building  our next generation service that is cloud-based to give us the opportunity to deliver a better service to the public whilst harnessing large scale process improvement opportunities within the organisation.

We’ve been doing this for over 17 years now and have seen multiple iterations of obvious forms such as Crime Reporting, as well as historically pioneering a number of initiatives we now take for granted such as online FOI Requests, Local Officer Contact by postcode as well as online intelligence provision and near miss reporting.

When we launched our website three years ago we built an integrated solution that allowed our team to quickly create simple forms that were user and mobile friendly and they have been transformational in our online service delivery.

However, in the last couple of years, we have seen an ever-increasing number of opportunities where our existing form solution doesn’t have the flexibility we would like to deliver at the pace we would like.

Our new forms solution is decoupled from our website and will provide the following benefits:

  • Rapid delivery – we often discover opportunities we want to execute on immediately, complex forms can be created within a day
  • Integration – we plan to integrate with Niche (our crime recording system) soon, but that is only the beginning – the system is being designed to allow multiple integrations in the future – we also will ensure these are flexible and as future proof as possible
  • Handling of media (images and video)
  • Simple and easy to use – user tested, intuitive
  • Tracking – user feedback and updates
  • Lightweight – Lightning fast to load with minimal data transfer required
  • Progressively Enhanced to ensure compatibility for all our users

We are using Agile Scrum to iteratively build this solution and see it as a critical part of our digital strategy over the next few years.

The form system is flexible enough that we will be able to create multiple instances of it on a variety of hosting platforms, we have chosen to host in the cloud this time, but hope to use the same system internally for our intranet forms.

We will be adding more information in future blogs.  Follow us on Twitter to be notified when we publish more information.