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Mid Ulster District Council digital strategy

Mid Ulster District CouncilRead how Tailwind Digital supported Mid Ulster District Council to develop their digital thinking, delivering a forward looking digital strategy. 


Formed in 2015 from the merger of three councils, Mid Ulster covers a large geographical area and provides a range of services to a diverse population spread across both urban and rural communities.

It is the fastest growing area in Northern Ireland, with its population of 147,000 forecast to hit 165,000 by 2030. It has a young population, with 62% of working age, and it boasts the fastest growing business base in Northern Ireland, and the largest outside of Belfast.

While residents and visitors are often attracted to the idyllic scenery on offer, Mid Ulster is actually a digital and creative technology hotspot, with the highest percentage of businesses investing in research and development in the UK.

In order to meet the aspirations of this enterprising population, Mid Ulster District Council embarked on a journey to catapult its services into the technology fast lane.


With an ambition to improve all aspects of its operations and the service it provides to residents, Mid Ulster District Council appointed Tailwind Digital to develop a Digital Transformation Strategy.

The authority was keen to avoid the strategy being too narrowly focused on digital, recognising technology as the enabler for a wider transformation to the organisation’s culture and processes.

There was also a requirement to ensure that the use of technology didn’t mean removing all other channels, but rather making the digital experience so good that it became the first choice for the majority of residents.

Tailwind Digital was awarded the contract because of the experience of their team in delivering digital transformation in the local government sector, and their ability to work across all of the different elements of the project and deliver a truly holistic response.

“The challenge was for every part of the organisation to recognise its responsibility within digital transformation – to bring them to recognise that this strategy belongs to everyone. Tailwind Digital challenged everyone to sit up and take notice and that this is part of every service provider’s role, not just on one particular person in the organisation.”

Barry O'Hagan, Head of Information Technology, Mid Ulster District Council


A key element of Tailwind Digital’s approach was to ensure that everyone involved in the process felt safe to speak openly about the way things currently are. A clear statement was made at the beginning of the process, that “regardless of what we discover, we must understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.”

The strategy was broken down into three workstreams, each of which was led by a different senior member of staff at the Council:

  • Digital Culture, People, and Capability
  • Digital Services
  • Digital Infrastructure

Working across all levels – from administration to Chief Executive – Tailwind Digital was able to provide a thorough assessment of the organisation’s digital maturity. Alongside this, they delivered a comprehensive strategy, outlining actionable recommendations for the council about how to meet its digital aspirations.

Tailwind Digital was able to bring specialist market expertise and real practical delivery experience to the project. Throughout, there was a focus on providing a collaborative and supportive approach, including involving a wide range of stakeholders in meetings and workshops – both virtual and in-person.

At all stages there was a recognition that the authority did not just need to adopt new technology, but also to change the corporate mindset, the way that individuals work, and to transform the skills and capabilities of the team.

The approach was refreshing, in a very positive way. Tom was able to turn any difficulty into a positive opportunity and his personality allows people to naturally open up. People felt safe to express things.

He invested a huge amount of time in the organisation with a recognition that people were at the heart of this. He spent a lot of time with people and built-up trust with everyone at every level in the organisation. This was a unique ability and talent that he brought to the table.

Ursula Mezza, Head of Marketing & Communications, Mid Ulster District Council


Tailwind Digital delivered a comprehensive Digital Transformation Strategy that was tailored to meet the challenging ambitions of Mid Ulster District Council, to deliver better outcomes for their residents, businesses and visitors. Equally importantly Tailwind Digital secured buy in at every level of the organisation, including staff, senior management, and councillors for the strategy.

Crucially, there was a change in ambition from the start to the end of the project. Elements that initially appeared too challenging have now been embraced as a core part of the strategy.

A clear vision has been developed for each of the three workstreams, backed up by detailed actions and outcomes:

Digital Culture, People and Capability

We will foster a digital culture across our Council by creating digital leaders at all levels of our organisation who demonstrate digital thinking. We will support them to be confident with new technology and to develop the specific skills needed to support our digital transformation journey.

Digital Services

We aim to create seamless, data-driven digital services for our customers. We will identify, prioritise, build or improve services so that where possible they are offered digitally/online by default, while also ensuring that those who cannot access digital channels are not disadvantaged.

Digital Infrastructure

We will invest in modern digital tools and build upon our ICT infrastructure to improve the communication, digital service creation, data analysis and automation capability available to all departments.

The full strategy can be read on Mid Ulster District Council’s website

The Council is now keen to move onto implementing the recommendations set out in the strategy and embarking on a process of continuous improvement.

Alongside the strategy itself, there was so much other added value, particularly in terms the amount of people and organisations that they put us in contact with and the connections that were made.

It’s really difficult to overestimate the progress that has been made. The foundation and building blocks that have been set are going to help with future momentum. So much work has been done so far to get to the exciting part, the implementation stage.

Claire McNally, Assistant Director (Corporate Services and Finance), Mid Ulster Council

About Us

Tailwind Digital helps the public sector build and deliver better services using their existing technology and teams. We accelerate new ways of working and leave a legacy of confident innovation.

Our approach is based on partnership. We will work hand in hand with you to build additional capability and capacity wherever needed, to accelerate sustainable delivery of your ambitions. Our methods are inclusive and interactive, engaging teams and employees at all levels to implement a corporate approach: aligning the organisation’s processes, talent, and culture to promote adoption of a digital first mindset.