2020 Local Government Tech Predictions! #CounciloftheFuture

On 5 December we held our annual end of year local government celebration event - Future Gazing: Where Next for Local Gov Tech - bringing together tech industry and councils to reflect on the past year in local government transformation, the key trends and looking to 2020 on what the emerging technologies disrupting the sector will be. The panelists were also invited to make their predictions on what is in store for local government transformation in 2020!

The panelists included:

  • Paul Brewer, Director for Digital & Resources, Adur & Worthing Councils
  • Nadira Hussain, Director of Leadership Development & Research, Socitm
  • Gus Tugendhat, Founder, Tussell

In 2019 the common trend and prediction was on partnerships and collaboration, not just between councils but across local public services and suppliers. Whereas the year collaboration has moved to becoming the accepted norm, and you can see some of the examples in this Public Technology article ‘Collaboration catches on’.

It was great to hear from Socitm who shared insights from their yearly research and challenges their council members face. In particular the shift towards a place-based approach, moving away from siloed service to a focus on outcomes. Asks to industry included:

  • How can industry help scale-up and support councils to move on from proof of concepts at pace?
  • Moving away from being sellers of tech to partners adding value.

Paul Brewer shared what he saw as the trends in five to years’ time and his slides can be viewed here. Trends included:

  • Trend for in-house digital teams will continue. Working to the Local Digital Declaration and meeting Government Digital Service Standards and sharing design patterns.
  • Modernisation of roles and practices. Design accepted as organisational transformation method.
  • Buying component services. Highlighting retainer service for data analytics would be good to buy as a service.
  • Collaborative commissioning of new products and models. Councils having an open innovation challenge where suppliers can respond to problems.
  • Breakthroughs on national data standards. A common architecture across councils making it easier for suppliers too.

Lastly, we heard from Tussell whose data showed that local government is a growing market to sell into. An SME was of the biggest contract winners of 2019. Though local government accounts for only five per cent of G-Cloud spend. But Gus stated that procurement of emerging technology favours SMEs, with SMEs winning two thirds of the contracts in 2019. 690 local government tech contracts worth £329 million are due to expire in 2020 which is encouraging news for SMEs and new entrants but Gus stressed the importance in undertaking early market engagement. You can view Tussell’s slides here.

Key trends include:

  • Moving away from the technology to place based outcomes – how can the technology help solve a problem. Suppliers need to understand the council ambition and identify where they can add social value,
  • It’s no longer just about the IT, but how technology can help at organisational challenge.

Key tips for suppliers to better navigate the market:

  • Understand where the greenfield opportunities are and where there aren’t incumbents;
  • Identify the pioneering councils;
  • Make an offer to do a discovery session;
  • The MHCLG Local Digital fund provides useful data in understanding what are the key problems councils are looking to solve.


  • With more than £300 million contracts expiring in 2020 those that prepare and do the early market engagement will do best.
  • Consolidating and building on the achievements of 2019.
  • Place based outcomes will be the driver of innovation and transformation.
  • Moving to ‘smarter’ places to create more cohesive communities.
  • More senior roles where post holder has more than just digital.
  • Social value will be a consistent feature through all procurements.

Share what your local government digital predictions for 2020 are using hashtag #CounciloftheFuture.

  • Georgina Maratheftis

    Georgina Maratheftis

    T 020 7331 2029

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