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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


A mobile app that allows Dudley residents to quickly and easily report problems, such as flytipping, potholes and faulty streetlights - and lets tenants submit requests for housing repairs - has kicked off 2015 by passing a landmark 1,000 downloads.

The Dudley Council mobile app, built by public sector-owned technology developer Looking Local, is available to local residents and tenants for free on iOS and Android smartphones.  It was launched in November 2014.

Commissioned as part of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council’s ‘Love Your Community’ campaign the app allows residents to send in pictures of problems, including roads in need of repair, dumped rubbish, faulty street lights and graffiti, which are then forwarded to the appropriate council department. The app pinpoints the exact location of the report to aid a speedy resolution. Dudley’s housing tenants can also send in pictures to request housing repairs. 

Of the 1,000 downloads since the November go-live, more than 550 street issues and more than 250 housing repairs have been reported.

LookingLocal Director, Guy Giles, said:  “We are delighted that Dudley’s app has been taken up with such enthusiasm by local residents.  In common with all our clients we worked with the Dudley Council team to develop a versatile, bespoke solution based, in this case, on our MyLandlord platform.  Our aim is to create a product that residents find easy to navigate and convenient to use – and that cuts down on time-consuming and costly face-to-face and telephone contact with council staff.” 

Councillor Stuart Turner, cabinet member for finance and ICT at Dudley Council, said: “The Looking Local app is already proving popular with Dudley residents as it offers quick and easy access to council services, and a convenient route to reporting street issues and requesting housing repairs.  It also allows our busy customer advisers to maximise the time they have to help more residents. We’re very pleased that it has been so well received and we hope even more people will continue to download it and make the most of the services it offers.”    

The app is available on the i-phone and other smartphones and is free to download from the iphone app store and from the Google Playstore on android phones. People should simply search for Dudley Council to get the app on their phone.

More information on the LookingLocal range of products is available at: 

Dudley residents can find out more and download the app at .  

Thursday, November 20, 2014


As part of their innovative approach to the future of healthcare provision, West Wakefield Health & Wellbeing Federation in partnership with Looking Local has developed a new solution to health information and service delivery in their work funded by the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

The new directory delivers local health, wellbeing and support information and services to 63,000 patients across West Yorkshire and is integrated with Looking Local’s social search engine, enabling users to access relevant supplementary multi-media content from sites such as Facebook, Yelp and MeetUp.

“A stated aim of West Wakefield’s successful Prime Minister’s Challenge bid is ‘improving access through better use of digital technology’”, said Dr Chris Jones, Programme Director at West Wakefield Heath & Wellbeing Federation.

“By working with Looking Local we are able to offer our patients an innovative information and service directory, presenting valuable services from across our local healthcare, council and voluntary sector partners, as well as bringing in relevant global content.

“Looking Local’s solution offers a far greater digital capability than we could provide or support locally, meeting our patients’ digital expectations and really harnessing the power of the web.”

The added ‘social search’ capability enabled by Looking Local’s engine has real value in terms
of accessibility, as it lowers the barriers of entry to complex digital social platforms for people who
might not otherwise engage in online social media.

Not only can patients tap into local support and community groups, find providers of specialist
equipment and care, they can connect with people with similar health issues globally, share their
experiences and gain insight.

West Wakefield is one of a growing number of partners who have used the solution for specific
customer groups, policies or initiatives. 
Other instances have seen the flexible search engine
addressing the Local Offer, jobs, economic resilience and the Over 55s
. The search criteria can
be adapted for specific content areas and audience types. 

For West Wakefield Health & Wellbeing the focus is on long-term conditions, encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own health and promote services designed to assist people in staying healthy and independent for longer.

If you are working on a directory project or your organisation could benefit from improved search capabilities, lower content management overheads or if you want to combine local and global resources for the benefit of your customers, please contact us.

Visit the West Wakefield Health & Wellbeing site here.
Kirklees Local Offer

Thursday, October 23, 2014


This week marks the first anniversary of working with The Money Advice Service on a national level, extending access to their independent financial and consumer advice - specifically around welfare reform and Universal Credit - to people on a range of digital devices and channels.

The Money Advice Service has a remit to support local authorities and housing associations with the key advice they offer on a wide range of subjects. And in these difficult economic times, this free advice is helping thousands of people keep out of debt and make their money go further.

By working with Looking Local, The Money Advice Service can extend digital access to the six million people without internet access, by delivering the content on interactive TV, 60+ local authority and housing apps, the national 'My Council' smartphone app as well as games consoles, mobile and tablet devices.

After a successful first year, with over 250,000 hits on The Money Advice Service content and tools (such as the Debt Advice Locator tool) across Looking Local channels, new areas of partnership have been identified for the coming year, particularly around advice for care, carers and paying for care.

Long may the partnership continue.

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. 
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