Carl Haggerty, Chair of the LocalGov Digital steering group, gives his thoughts on the group’s aims and why the group was established. Carl is also Digital communications manager at Devon County Council and can be found on Twitter at @carlhaggerty
What is LocalGov Digital?
LocalGov Digital is currently a small group of people who are passionate about the possibilities and potential of digital to reshape and rethink local public services. We have shared our thoughts about this for some time and felt that the time was right to formalise the agenda and to increase the depth of conversation around digital and the future of local public services.
The steering group is a small group of people who are working on building relationships, influencing stakeholders and championing collaborative projects to help push the sector forward. The wider LocalGov Digital agenda is for everyone – if you’re involved in some way in providing or supporting the delivery of local public services then you should get involved, share your views and collaborate. We’re using Knowledge Hub as a base for people wanting to be part of LocalGov Digital.
What’s my background?
My background is pretty much all local government with time also spent in the private and voluntary sectors. I’ve worked for Devon for over 16 years and in that time have worked in enterprise architecture, sustainability and community development, tourism and economic development, business administration, communications, product management, research and strategic ICT.
Challenges for the sector
Looking inwards the main challenges are in having time and space to think differently and reflect the pace and style of change. We can’t simply continue with traditional change programmes which don’t actually transform or rethink how services are delivered. We must embrace a new paradigm and fundamentally rethink how we deliver and design processes that contribute to the local environment and enable communities to develop organically. We must align our purpose to every part of this.
Looking outwards we need to accept that the environment will not simply develop, and transformative opportunities will not unfold, unless people, businesses, service providers, government, community organisations and others fully understand and integrate digital into everything they do.
This requires pervasive digital awareness and education – a ubiquitous climate that animates and inspires creativity and transformation and enables growth and wellbeing.
A digital climate is different to a transformation programme. It is a shift in thinking in which people and institutions are routinely aware of and constantly incorporate digital technology and opportunity into whatever they do.
So where do we start?
LocalGov Digital should start by articulating and sharing what a framework for local digital services could and should look like and help people connect to it and understand the role we must all play in getting there.