The national portal for local government and related public services
on digital interactive TV and mobile phones ... widening reach, broadening choice

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Feedback from LetsHelpYou local authority partners shows there is a growing demand to introduce a Rent a Room scheme as a new way of reducing householder liability under the over-occupancy rule to safeguard homes and tenancies, and at the same time offer more choice - especially to Under 35 singles. 

Rent a Room - What is it?
Utilising the existing LetsHelpYou platform, Rent a Room is a dedicated solution that introduces people (Lodgers) searching for a room, to people (Hosts) with a spare room to rent out.

Rent a Room is free to the end user and works in both the social and private

rented sectors. It also adheres to the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme practical guidance.

Core Audiences
- Those most affected by welfare reform e.g. under 35 singles  
- Housing providers with a shortage of one/two bed properties
- Housing Association tenants facing benefit cuts due to under-occupancy
- Owner occupiers/rental tenants (with permissions) with a spare room to rent

Key Benefits
- Offers those seeking affordable accommodation self-service and more choice

- Reduces waiting lists and demand for smaller units

- Safeguarding tenancies by reducing tenancy failures and rent arrears

- Reduces homelessness and temporary accommodation costs

- Householders can advertise for free

- Searching tenants can place a ‘room wanted’ advert for free

Want to know more contact 

Monday, September 29, 2014


Having a communications strategy for your new channels or app is key to it's ultimate success. Knowing who, why & what it is for, having an understanding how it will help, change and improve your organisation and how to communicate those messages from start to finish (and ongoing) is critical.

Top 10 comms ideas as inspired by the recent 'Comms for Transformation' event: 
  • Build comms in right from the start; don't let it be a last minute panic (see success rates below) 
  • Don't underestimate the importance of customer insight
  • Comms is not just an external exercise; internal comms is just as important
  • Balance your comms - give consideration to those who want to find their own answers and those who will need leading/spoon-feeding
  • Talk to the people you are targeting, take time to see what devices people are using, when, wh, what they want and build this into messages
  • Challenge misconceptions 
  • Understand the differences of digital immigrants (people to whom digital devices are relatively new) & digital natives (people who have grown up with technology and know how it works/can help them) and prepare different approaches for these two groups 
  • Email is the oldest form of digital marketing - but is still the most powerful. Amazon do 90% of their marketing/advertising by email rather than other digital channels as it is more likely to be seen than social media
  • Tell your story; feedback the success of the comms strategy internally
  • All marketing has a place and purpose; but no one-size fits all...

A recent Comms 2.0 survey shows that the earlier the comms team gets involved the higher the chance of success is: 

Monday, September 8, 2014


Following customer feedback on the features and capabilities of the My Landlord management portal, we have just launched the ability for partners to flag housing reports in terms of their priority.

So if a tenant is vulnerable, the housing repair is critical in terms of household safety or the issue is causing harm or offence, the new priority flagging  system ensures that the issue is dealt with more quickly.

Part of the ongoing development and improvement of My Landlord, this feature is now live and available to the 30+ housing associations that use My Landlord as their tenant focused smartphone app.

Click here to find out more about My Landlord.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


The summer gave us time to review and redevelop the transport solution we offer via our apps, on TV, mobile and other platforms, and are we pleased to unveil a new multi-channel travel and journey planning service based on Google Maps.

The new route finder allows people to plan their journey using buses, trains, tubes, ferries and trams anywhere in the UK. Whether simply to confirm a local bus ride or to plan a bigger journey using a range of transport services, Looking Local and all partners now offer free access across all digital devices.

Using the latest data from Google maps it covers the UK ‘coast-to-coast’, offering details of nearly 1,500 different transport operators, over 17,000 different routes and more than 330,000 pick-up points.

Looking Local first launched nationwide travel, transport and journey planning information over seven years ago, it has always been a popular service and this update improves the coverage we are able to provide as well as the accuracy of the data. The route finder integrates well with our local authority, housing and health partners content, as well as the other national services. 

See the new transport service on a TV emulator here or on our My Council app; download for iOS or Android

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Building on the strong partnership between Looking Local and The Money Advice Service, we have just added their Debt Advice Locator tool to all our national My Council app and the 60+ partner apps we manage for local authorities and housing organisations.

The Debt Advice Locator tool is a free service allowing anyone in the UK to find debt advice in their area (both as listings and on a map), plus national telephone and online debt advice services. The tool supports people who may already be in debt, but also those who need advice to keep themselves from falling into arrears or who are struggling with their payments.

The Debt Advice Locator sits alongside a wealth of information from The Money Advice available across all our channels (Sky, Virgin, mobile, apps, social media), including in-depth information on bank accounts, benefits, credit cards, loan sharks, money management and more.

Find out more about our national partners here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014



My Landlord App: Home Group 

Live: Six Weeks

Downloads: 1,000

Hits: 30,000

Housing Repair Reports: 475

Push Messages: 950

Main Services: Housing Repairs, ASB Reporting, News, Universal Credit information & Universal Jobmatch from the DWP,  financial and budgeting advice from The Money Advice Service and access to their online communities.

Reasons for launching smartphone app: 
- High level of tenants owning a smartphone (national average now at 64% © IPSOS MORI)

- Simple easy-to-use app with supplementary national content from DWP, The Money Advice Service and NHS Choices

Home of Home Group's website with big feature on the
carousel promoting the app 

Benefits delivered in 6 weeks:
- Photograph of the issue in the housing repair process is making it easier to diagnose repairs correctly the first time, leading to repairs being completed more quickly

- Over 475 reports logged by tenants without the support of a telephone advisor

- Push messaging making any outstanding questions quicker and easier to handle, and the whole process of communicating with tenants more effective and immediate

- Over 30,000 hits on a wide range of local and national content

Download Home Group's app from iTunes App Store or Google Play

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Following the launch of our My Health smartphone app earlier this year, we are pleased to announce that the first local version – for Nottingham North & East CCG – has been accredited by the NHS App Store, signed off as clinically safe and made available in their store.

My Health is an app framework rather than a condition-specific app; and the only such solution accredited by the NHS App Store. It allows a health organisation to link together the services their patients need from the high volume transactions such as appointment booking, repeat prescriptions, health and diet advice to information and services focused on specific conditions.

This framework approach allows your organisation to build the right solution for your patients by:

  • Linking to your local systems
  • Offering mobile-optimised services from your website or those of trusted partners
  • Embedding other accredited apps from the NHS App Store
  • Surfacing related content Looking Local handles such as information around welfare reform (from the DWP), transport, financial and budgeting advice (from The Money Advice Service) and national content from NHS Choices & NHS Scotland.  
To be as inclusive as possible, we are currently working with HSCIC on integrating with 17+ Principal Clinical System Providers using the GPSOC framework, this will enable us to offer GP services from all main providers within the app.

Four more local versions of My Health are in the accreditation process, so we look forward to them becoming available in the NHS App Store in due course. 

Friday, June 13, 2014


Earlier this week the Government Digital Service launched online voter registration enabling people to register to vote in just a few minutes, as part of the Individual Electoral Registration (IER) reforms.

As a mobile-optimised service which has relevance across local government, Looking Local has now tested the registration process within our My Council app and is can now make it available to all our customers. 

"This service will bring voter registration into the 21st century and make it easier, simpler and faster for people to register to vote,” said Minister of State at the Cabinet Office Greg Clark as he launched the new service.

There were a range of initiatives leading up to the recent local elections, such as National Voter Registration Day organised by Bite the Ballot, attempting to get young voters registered. There was also criticism of some local authorities as to the effectiveness of their registration processes. This new mobile service aims to make registering easier and less open to fraud, due to it being linked to the individual, rather than the household.

Looking Local keeps an eye on new mobile-optimised services that would be relevant for use on our apps; currently we are looking at ways to improve the experience people have with our travel and transport information, as well as working tax and carer's credits to support the information we have around welfare reform further.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Following customer feedback we have made a number of improvements to the My Landlord solution, in particular to the management portal, enabling quicker, easier report management and improved analysis capabilities.

- New Management Portal Filters: Action & Follow-Up
A new filter allows customers to only view those reports where the tenant was the last person to comment, enabling the easy identification of issues that need a next action.

Equally all reports can be filtered to show those where the customer service operative made the last comment, so that they are able to show those tenants and reports that need chasing up to complete and close the report.

View of the My Landlord management portal, showing the new  filter 

- Improved Statistics
Users of the My Landlord management portal can now view the number of submitted reports on a weekly or monthly basis, and all statistics can be downloaded into Excel to easily compare with other channels.

In addition we are now able to show more detail in terms of the communication for each report, by splitting the messages by the tenant and those from your operatives. This improved data gives evidence around the volume of reports, the number of communications issues take to resolve, leads to enhanced customer insight and better understanding around specific issues and repairs.

These improvements are now live on the My Landlord  management console and are simple to use. However  we would be happy to talk you through the changes or introduce you to the wider My Landlord solution, so please get in touch.

For more details on My Landlord, click here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


New advice around Becoming Ill or Disabled provided by our partner The Money Advice Service has just been published across all Looking Local platforms and apps; widening digital access on a national level this this key information. 

The content covers the benefits and entitlements ill and disabled people can access, as well how to approach finding work and continuing in employment. There is information on the new Personal Independence Payments that are being introduced to replace the Disability Living Allowance from next year, and the effects that Universal Credit will have on disabled people.

This new advice supplements content The Money Advice Service already provides around financial management, debt, how to budget and make savings as well as focused Universal Credit and benefit information. 

Naturally it will be kept up-to-date and is a product of our strong relationship with The Money Advice Service, and our dual approach to getting key information around work, changes in the welfare system and financial advice out to as many people as possible on the widest range of digital devices.

Indeed last week saw the best usage of The Money Advice Service content this year, with well over 6,000 hits, which shows that people need this type of advice and are accessing it via a number of channels.
See the new content here, access it on TV via Sky and Virgin Media (see TV pathways) or download My Council from the iTunes App Store or Google Play to use it via your smartphone. 

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