Today we at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) are delighted to announce that we’re co-publishing a Local Digital Declaration.
It’s a shared vision for the future of local public services that we’ve written in collaboration with 40 organisations, local authorities of all types and geographies, and with input from many more.
Our message is simple: when it comes to transforming public services to meet the raised expectations of citizens, our similarities are greater than our differences.
So, we are committing to work together to share knowledge, to get better services from our technology suppliers, and ultimately to pave the way for the next era in public service delivery.
We’re seeing everywhere a revolution in how technology is transforming our lives, enabling us do things, access things and learn things like never before. And it is important that this revolution benefits all our residents. So those designing local government services should keep the user uppermost in their thinking as we develop new ways of doing things.
Secondly, we must ‘fix the plumbing’, developing common standards for the common elements of our local services. Instead of being locked into bulky, inflexible, proprietary IT systems, we can build systems using commodity, flexible lego-like modules. This will improve services, save money and enable us to share data across our organisations more easily.
Lastly, we need to make sure all local government leaders everywhere have access to the skills and training they need to capitalise on all the opportunities that technology brings.
This is absolutely not about every council doing things the same way, about centralising services, or about having the same website! It’s simply about helping each other to deliver the best possible services to our citizens for the best price.
So, I encourage everyone working to improve local public services to read our Declaration, discuss how you could help us to achieve the vision, and sign up in the Autumn with your own commitment - however small.
What we’ll do to support
For our part, MHCLG is setting up a team to curate some of the best work out there, facilitate collaboration and to push central government departments better serve local digital teams.
I’ll also commit up to £7.5 million over the next 2 years to help build the skills we need, and to help local authorities develop common solutions to their shared challenges.
Councils will be able to bid for money from the Autumn.
How to join in
You can read the full Local Digital Declaration here. The Local Digital Team are working on a Declaration sign up service for their website. Subscribe to the Local Digital newsletter and the team will let you know when it's ready.
The digital revolution is coming to local government - consider this your invite to join in.