A New Digital Service Standard for Local Government

techUK comments on the draft local Government Service Standard

LocalGov Digital, a network for digital practitioners in local government, have initiated with the support from the Government Digital Service (GDS), the building of a Digital Standard for Local Government. The consultation, now closed, sets out eighteen key recommendations with the aim to enable a common approach for local authorities to deliver good quality, user centred and value for money digital services.

Recommendations include putting users at the heart of service design; creating an agile and iterative service model as set out in the Government Service Design Manual and building a service consistent with the user experience of government digital services.

The finalised version of the standard is imminently due to be published, the timeframe given is the first week of April 2016. It is also envisioned that by September 2016, a core set of councils will have adopted the Standard.

techUK view

techUK welcomes the new Local Government Digital Service Standard and is encouraged by GDS involvement in the initiative. In our manifesto ‘Securing our digital future’, we called for the creation of a body, with a similar remit to GDS to be established to act at the regional level to help local authorities identify the common building blocks of software, hardware and processes that can be standardised and commoditised across local Government.

Whilst overall the Standards provide a solid basis for local digital service transformation and we fully support local authorities publicising code where they are the source or owners of the underlying IPR through a well understood permissive license, we were concerned by this particular standard:

Where possible use or buy open source tools and consider making source code open and reusable, publishing it under appropriate licenses

We believe the current wording is not in line with Governments policy of creating a level playing field and the unintended consequences will have a detrimental effect on the ability of SMEs to work with local Government.

Naureen Khan, Associate Director - Public Sector, Central and Local Government, said:

“this is an important initiative and techUK’s new Local Public Services Board looks forward to working with Local Gov Digital to ensure the standards encourage a level playing field and no one aspect of the standards have a detrimental impact on small businesses”. It is also important to remember that procurement should focus on meeting the public service objectives and value for money criteria, ultimately delivering services that meet user needs’

To find out more about our Local Government programme please contact:

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