Barnet…there’s an app for that

With the launch of Barnet Council’s new iPhone app, residents can tap into local services and information wherever they are. The Barnet Mobile smartphone app is now available for free download from the Apple App Store and is suitable for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Barnet Mobile app

The new app allows you to:

  • access local consultations
  • find local services on an interactive map
  • pay your council tax
  • search frequently asked questions
  • sign-up for pay-by-phone parking
  • contact your local councillor
  • read the latest tweets and press releases.

Barnet is one of the first UK councils to launch a smartphone app and it’s been created by an in-house developer. This means Barnet has introduced a new way to contact and engage with the council at a minimal cost to residents.

I encourage you to download the app and let me know what you think.

An app for Android smartphones is being developed, I will let you know when it is available.

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Open Public Services White Paper

I’ve been meaning to write something about the Government’s Open Public Services White Paper, which was published in July.

The White Paper suggests a new approach to public services, one that will be partly achieved by opening up services to a range of providers. It argues that better services can be achieved by encouraging innovation in service delivery, an approach we are already exploring in Barnet.

Of particular interest to me was the section about services commissioned by local government, as this closely relates to the council’s transformation programme. As the paper explains, local authorities are usually the most appropriate bodies to decide how local services should be delivered. The Government is keen to encourage the opening up of locally commissioned services in a range of areas, including:

  • customer contact
  • planning
  • property and facilities management
  • back-office transactional services
  • family support
  • support for looked-after children
  • trading standards and environmental services
  • housing management.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Barnet is already speaking to the market to find partners to deliver several of these services. We have recognised that we need to tap into private sector expertise to find new, more innovative ways to deliver services.

For more information, you can read the Open Public Services White Paper or visit the open public services website.