The local digital collaboration mission at MHCLG

It’s notoriously difficult to scale innovation around the local public sector. Technology designed for one local authority doesn’t just slide neatly into another, because council systems speak different languages and their business processes aren’t standardised.

As a result, many innovators and problem solvers struggle to serve local authorities – few new companies can afford to adapt their products for each client and councils spend more on tailored systems that do not join up more than is technically necessary.

Yet while councils can easily see the benefits of moving towards more standardised ways of using data and digital technology, no individual council can make it happen. In fact, even a small cohort of councils will struggle due to the national scale of their ambition.

Our aim is to enable these kinds of cross-sector projects to happen and to demonstrate government’s commitment to driving a more open, flexible and interoperable (common rules allowing our technology to join up better) local service market.

We also want to make it easier for councils and investors to understand the common problems and opportunities in local government. There are many organisations doing great work to support councils on their digital journeys, but at times this too can make it hard to see the big picture, understand the biggest common pain points and identify the most promising examples across the sector.

So we’ll also try to curate some of the best examples and highlight the common standards and patterns that every council needs to know about.

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About the author

Linda O'Halloran

Linda O'Halloran

Linda heads up the local digital team at MHCLG.

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