Demystifying local government

  • techUK techUK
    Monday22Jul 2019
    Event round-ups

    The challenges and opportunities facing the local government tech market – key insights from the latest #techUKlocalgov event

Last week we held our latest event in the growing the local GovTech market series - Demystifying Local Gov – which brought together techUK members and local government to explore what are the tech trends, opportunities and challenges facing local authorities.

It is an exciting time for local government transformation, more and more councils are realising the benefit digital can play in helping to not only drive efficiencies but solve problems and create places where citizens want to live, work and thrive. Collectively, local government spends around £2 billion per annum on IT, with £1 billion of this spent on sourcing and supporting software applications. However, the local government market can be perceived as complex and hard to navigate. While this is true, local government is unique in the number of lines of business it operates - from zoo licenses to local planning to waste collection – meaning technology can make a real difference to how services are delivered and ultimately improve the lives of citizens.

This event provided active and new entrants to the local government market the opportunity to develop a better understanding of how local government works and procures technology. We were delighted to welcome the following speakers:

  • Paul Davidson, Chief Information Officer, Sedgemoor City Council
  • Bob Brown, Strategic Director, Sedgemoor City Council
  • Davina Fell, Digital Infrastructure Manager, Southwark Council
  • Andy Theedom, Director, PwC
  • Councillor Timothy Barnes, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Education and Skills, Westminster Council

To kick us off we had Andy Theedom present the key findings of the latest The Local State We're In 2019. It draws on a local government survey, has interviews with representatives across councils, the NHS, local enterprise partnerships, transport bodies and universities as well as members of the public. Findings include:

  • The public are concerned about the impact of cuts on themselves, their families and the wider community. The majority of the public recognise that they have use council services (95%), and over 58% are concerned about the impact on them personally.
  • The public are also open to engaging with their council in new ways. Four in ten (39%) say they would participate more to improve their local area and help local people if their council made it easier to do so, but the majority are indifferent.
  • Four in ten of the public are satisfied with the digital access they have to council services, while two in ten are not aware of any services being available digitally.
  • Four in ten of the public are satisfied with the digital access they have to council services, while two in ten are not aware of any services being available digitally.
  • Two thirds of councils are confident that their approach to digital security will cope with cyber threats, yet only 40% of the public trust their council with their data.

The results show that the public still personify councils as a person behind a desk in a town hall. There is a public perceptions that councils are not embracing tech and more can be done in understanding the role of local government in the twenty first century.

We then heard from Southwark, Sedgemoor and Westminster Council who shared the pressures councils faces as well as their digital journey. More information on Sedgemoor’s digital strategy can be found in these slides. Key points highlighted by the councils for suppliers to consider include:

  • Councils are outcome based with multi-disciplinary functions. It is no longer just about efficiencies but the problem the technology can help solve and doing things differently.
  • Slow-based decision making so be patient.
  • Councils are transitioning from traditional face to face engagement with customers to utilizing digital to deliver services, as well as self-service
  • When approaching local authorities’ suppliers should read their corporate plans.
  • Case studies and proof of concepts are useful in helping to understand what outcome the product/service can achieve.
  • Georgina Maratheftis

    Georgina Maratheftis

    HEAD OF LOCAL PUBLIC SERVICES
    T 020 7331 2029

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