Why are we doing this?
Digital technology has helped improve many of our public services. Yet there are very few instances where our services have been truly designed around the capabilities that digital has to offer.
Technology is usually bolted on to old fashioned processes or used only at the front-end. If we are to create the kinds of public services that citizens now expect, we need to redesign them so that digital is ingrained in their delivery.
Recognising this, some local authorities are beginning to transform the way they operate. However, they are doing so in isolation: we believe that progress might be accelerated if local authorities worked together as they explore this radical new approach.
What are we doing?
We will be scoping out whether a sector-led collaboration might accelerate digital transformation across local government. This will involve three areas of activity:
First, we want to really understand what a fully digital council of the future might look like. What can we expect from truly digital services in areas ranging from transport and leisure through to adult social care? What is the financial impact? How does it improve outcomes for citizens?
Second, we want to explore the different options for collaboration. How can councils usefully work together? What structure might a collaborative take?
And third, we are bringing together a group of councils who are willing to lead on this agenda. We will work this group to figures out ways we can act upon our findings. Several councils have already signed up and we're looking for more - so please do contact us.
Nesta has a long commitment to public service innovation. Working with partners, the Creative Council's programme helped local government innovators across England and Wales develop radical new solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing their communities.
In addition, our work on Code for Europe aimed to support the re-use of civic technology among local authorities across Europe. This include the development of Civic Exchange - an online civic tech marketplace - and the placement of civic hackers in Scottish local authorities.