7th April – Weekly Update

7th April – Weekly Update

This update was published when Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire was the name of the organisation, and when the “Update Hub” existed.

Welcome to our 2nd weekly report, this time published on a Thursday, by Harry Burr, President.

1) Internal Departments launch

Today, we publicly launched Internal Departments, which have been widely used within the organisation for some time, but never publicly made known. We currently operate two internal departments, which are Sustainable Transport Digital Service, the organisation responsible for our IT infrastructure, such as such as email and the web, and Sustainable Transport Restructuring Taskforce, the organisation responsible for sustainable restructuring of STN, and certain rebrandings.

The public announcement has come with a new public-facing section on the Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire website, which details which internal departments exist, what they do, and how to contact them. Certain Internal Departments may have a bland-looking page, because most of their operations are internal only. However, departments such as Digital Service may have sections such as the Digital and Design System section, which is a publicly-facing report they have recently published. More info on this report later on in the update.

2) Northamptonshire Local Authorities

On April 1st, Northamptonshire County Council, along with the seven district and borough councils:

  • Corby Borough Council
  • Daventry District Council
  • East Northamptonshire District Council
  • Kettering Borough Council
  • Northampton Borough Council
  • South Northamptonshire Council
  • Wellingborough Borough Council

…were dissolved, making way for two new brand new Unitary Authorities, West Northamptonshire Council, and North Northamptonshire Council. They are still in their early stages, and just on their feet, as they are brand new authorities. Unitary Authorities operate both county and district/borough council services, and are being rolled out across the UK at a relatively slow rate at the moment. For example, Buckinghamshire Council and Milton Keynes Council, or Rutland County Council, which is actually a Unitary Authority, mainly due to the small area size of Rutland (the smallest county in the UK)

According to a Northamptonshire Highways spokesperson, West Northamptonshire Council has been chosen to continue managing Northamptonshire Highways, but it’ll work for both new LAs (West and North). According to the contact, they are aiming to dissolve the former Northamptonshire County Council division, and give the specific LAs control of their own transport needs, such as their roads and transport strategy. This will happen “ideally” by 1st April 2022.

“Following Northamptonshire County Council ceasing to exist, there has been no disaggregation of Highway Services and it was agreed that West Northamptonshire Council would lead on the provision of highway services and deliver these to both North and West Northamptonshire. It is anticipated that the Highway service will be split between the two Unitary Authorities on 1st April 2022.”

– Network Coordination Manager, Northamptonshire Highways, West Northamptonshire Council

3) Website improvements

Many slight improvements have been made across our family of websites this week, including a new header on the main Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire website, as well as certain home improvements. The “Sustainable Transport Digital Service” wordmark has also been added to all site footers, including our project sites such as Weedon Station Project and South Northants Link. Two new sub-sites have been launched this week too.

These are:

  • Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire Contract Opportunities
  • STDS Cloud

Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire Contract Opportunities was launched this week due to the increase in demand for certain tasks to be outsourced and completed outside of the organisations. There are currently two operations listed on this new site, which are currently in the extended bidding stage.

Sustainable Transport Digital Service Cloud has also been soft launched this week, however, this is not currently going to change any end visitor communications/file access. We plan to move all of our whitepapers, reports, and maps to our own STDS Cloud by the end of 2021, enabling a more secure, private, and efficient file system to be in place. There are many benefits to operating our own cloud, such as more control over personalisation, and in some cases, faster upload, download, and PDF load speeds.

A new “Pinned” section has also been launched on Sustainable Transport Update Hub today, which enables common files to be pinned to the top of the page, for speedy, easy access.

4) Digital and Design System (DDS21)

We have launched our 2021 Digital and Design System this week. It was a soft launch, and was made available on this very Update Hub, as our first pinned file, actually. DDS21, as it’s known internally, was created by Sustainable Transport Digital Service, and has kept in mind flexibility, accessibility, and a modern and minimalistic digital and design system.

DDS21 is expected to expire in 1st January 2022, when an update will be required. We have recently made the rule of 1 rebrand a year. Rebrandings are great for campaigning organisations. It makes visitors and stakeholders think *wait, is that a new logo*, or *wait, new website? surely, new content?*

Harry Burr made the following comment on the launch, and within the new Digital and Design System for 2021’s founders statement, found on the second page of the document:

Until now, our brand has been a mess. Our design assets have been thrown around on different sites, and we’ve never had one intuitive Brand Hub. This document that we’re publishing today will fix that, by not only introducing a brand new design system, but also a new “Digital System”, to ensure our digital presence is as streamlined and simple as it can possibly be. Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire are a modern and slick organisation. We try to keep up to standards with our digital and design standards, which is why we change so often. Although we like change, it can get confusing for the visitor, which is why we have promised that we will only make one brand overhaul per year. We are making our 2021 overhaul now, with this new document.

– Harry Burr, President and Founder, Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire

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