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We’ve imagined the future of local government in a series of case studies on what life could be like for citizens in 2025. Find out more about our vision for local government in our report, Connected Councils.

Omar is a recent graduate who moved to the local area recently to take up work for a small social enterprise that provides employment support and opportunities for adults with learning difficulties.

The organisation used to receive an annual grant from the local authority but this arrangement ended during the era of austerity. Now the organisation relies on unpaid volunteers and winning work to deliver services on a payment-by-results basis as part of localised work programmes.

His role includes business development and fundraising. The single procurement portal makes it easier for him to keep track of new opportunities.

Using open data

When developing a bid he uses open council data on the expected number and profile of service users to estimate potential income. He also uses the digital platform to seek out other partners for consortium bids. The open data store also helps Omar plan where the organisation is most likely to need to recruit new volunteers, based on where there is the highest density of service users.

Citizen participation via apps

He also downloaded the local authority’s Connected Citizen app and signed up for citizen participation alerts. He is now an active contributor on the Digital Development portal, where new ideas can be suggested and debated, new policies drafted and votes are held on how some local resources are allocated.

He was recently alerted to a decision-making process about how his local ward’s community budget could be spent. The top ten ideas suggested by the public had been costed up and presented in an online vote, simulating a budget setting process.

Omar voted for the money to be spent creating safer cycling paths along key route into the main employment and leisure zones.

He found these participation activities helped him to understand more about the city, and to feel more connected with the place and his community.