23 Dec 2015

focusgov in 2015 - time to look back at the last twelve months

focusgov in 2015 - time to look back at the last twelve months

It has been quite the year at focusgov, and the headlines for the last twelve months make impressive reading. The team have expanded - and just as well - as 2015 has seen us double the number of local authorities we are working with. As a result, we have recorded our most successful trading year ever, a fantastic achievement for the entire focusgov team, who should all step forward and take a bow.

2015 saw Jenny, Stefano and Jon all join the team. Jenny, heading up our business development activities, also led our presentations and workshops at the NAFIS 2015 Conference in London, where we guided attendees through our The Local Offer: One Year On survey. Stefano has bought many years of web development experience to the studio and I'm sure Jon won't mind me describing him as akin to a Jack Russell - whipping through work and nipping at our heels for more.

Earlier in the year, MD Simon and Technical Director Neil met with Hartlepool Borough Council to kick off our work on what became Hartlepool Now, helping the council meet duties from The Care Act. The site has grown throughout the year, with the addition of an Equipment Finder and in October, we were really pleased to be invited to the launch event, where Hartlepool Now was described as "helping to put Hartlepool far ahead of other local authorities" by Hartlepool's Chief Executive Gill Alexander.
In the summer we met parents and young people at the launch of Achieving for Children's SEND Local Offer for the London Boroughs of Kingston and Richmond, where as well as chomping through several ice creams we said hello to the SEND Champions, a group of young people responsible for the creation of videos, blogs and other content for the site. Our work for Achieving for Children has since been noted by the Department of Education as a 'benchmark' for the SEND Local Offer.

The summer also saw the launch of Rife Guide, a new online events guide produced in partnership with our good friends at the Watershed and Bristol City Council. Young people have been fundamental to the design and functionality of the site, with the focusgov team running a series of workshops and consultations with groups throughout the year. An editorial team consisting of young journalists continue to work on Rife Guide.

All in all it's been a very busy but rewarding year and it is great to hear how more local authorities are really enjoying working with the focusgov team.
And so what's next? 2016 is going to be based around two key phrases for us: innovation and impact. We are working hard on new digital services and solutions that are going to help transform how local authorities provide information and advice for parents, families and carers. It is going to be worth keeping an eye out for.

In the meantime, a massive thank you to all our clients for their continued support and custom. Merry Christmas to everyone from the entire team at focusgov.

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