A Local Government Digital Service - our thoughts on SocITM's briefing

This week Socitm released a briefing note entitled 'Collaborating and sharing digital assets: towards a local government digital service?', which makes reference to the work LocalGov Digital does.

We welcome their recognition in the briefing of LocalGov Digital as a group progressing practical collaboration in the sector, from a grassroots level. However, while we are not opposed to the idea of a Local Government Digital Service of some sort, or a single entity platform, we see many possibilities each providing opportunities and challenges.

We caution against a model based mainly on providing advice as this has been done before, and exists in several formats at the moment.

We prefer a proactive model such as the one we’ve developed with peer-to-peer knowledge transfer gained through practical experience. We believe we are already making this happen through our Makers Project Teams which are a catalyst for collaborative working and joining up council projects. We actively align with groups and individuals outside of the sector, and will further strengthen this with the launch of our Change Academy.

The model proposed by Socitm - for a centrally-funded Local Government Digital Service - leaves many questions. Who will fund this service? Where will the mandate come from that will convince leaders and senior managers to get involved? How will this model achieve greater success than similar approaches of the past, such as the IDeA? What is the benefit to the sector, and to citizens, of an advisory body rather than one actively creating tools for the sector to use?

We would welcome any further explanation of the Socitm LGDS provides in future briefings or a full report.

We will continue to be involved in the wider debate on possibilities while continuing to deliver practical change and outcomes through our workstreams. We remain an impartial movement, focused on doing not just talking, aligning with others in and around local government whose work strengthens our aspirations for the sector.

And while this briefing, and others, may question the sustainability of LocalGov Digital or be disappointed by the speed or scale of change we are bringing we remain committed to doing rather than just talking, with Makers Project Teams and Change Academy the next step.

Get involved in LocalGov Digital - think differently, do differently

  • come along to the Makers' Project Teams day at Guildford on 11 September and collaborate on new or existing projects. Sign up for the free event here.
  • share your thoughts and work by linking your blog to LocalGov Digital Voice. If you aren't blogging and aren't sure if you want to start but you have something to say we're happy to take guest posts.
  • adopt our Content Standard and improve the quality of content your council publishes online
  • crowdsource public and peer reviews of your council website by using our free Council Usability Dashboard and find out where you need to improve content 
  • get better at sharing your work for the benefit of the sector - our free guide is here.