12 Dec 2022

Event round-up: Future Gazing: Where next for local government tech in 2023?

Reflections on the digital trends of the past year and predictions for 2023

2023: Year of innovation

Every December, techUK’s Local Public Services Programme holds its annual future gazing event which is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the achievements of digital local government of the past year.

We were delighted to welcome a fantastic array of speaker across local industry who shared their reflections on the key digital trends and predictions for 2023!

Local Govt ICT procurement spending has remained steady

First up we heard from Gus Tugendhat, Founder, Tussell who shared some great data insights and visualizations on the size of the market, the biggest buyers, and from which regions. Highlights including that local government ICT spending has remained steady at around £1.8bn per year, circa 4% of the local government spend. Most local authorities have seen growth in ICT procurement spend compared to pre-pandemic levels. The data is also showing that there is evidence that local authorities are gradually disaggregating their ICT purchasing and more ICT procurement in England going through frameworks. G-Cloud is the most widely used framework for ICT procurement by value, but only accounts for 19% of the total. Gus stressed that with live ICT procurement contracts (for services only) worth £617mn up for renewal in the next 24 months it’s crucial that tech suppliers pre-engage.

Common referencing is key to unlocking transformation

Steve Brandwood, Executive Director of Engagement, GeoPlace spoke about the importance of unique property reference numbers (UPRNS) in unlocking property information from disparate sources to break down silos across service areas and enable transformation.

Steve highlighted that one of the anticipated trends from the last year has been local authorities being the key innovators in bringing data together across location identifiers. Local authorities have been integrating definitive addresses and unique identifiers into council tax and planning systems to capture early life cycle. A cost benefit study of implementing standardised addressing and street referencing across local authorities has shown that every £1 invested in using address and street data more effectively has the potential to deliver £6 in cost efficiencies and increased revenue. Steve stressed that against a backdrop of the global economy and reductions in public sector spending, local authorities will use location data to underpin efficiency and economic growth.

Digital Dorset: Taking a platform approach

We then heard from Lisa Trickey, Head of Digital Strategy & Design, Transformation, Innovation and Digital, Dorset Council who shared their digital vision and ambition to make Dorset a great place to live, work and visit and to create a 21st century council, delivering modern customer focused services, a digital council in a digital place. Lisa stressed the potential of digital in helping solve some of the biggest local challenges they face.

Dorset have shifted their tech strategy to a platform approach to really deliver on the Local Digital Declaration principles of reuse and breaking away from legacy system constraints. Presenting as one council to really deliver on a good user experience as well as rationalising applications helping to minimise their revenue costs and challenges. This year their focus has been on customer account, contact management and a newsroom which they will make available at the beginning of 2023.  Bringing the website, account and news together means they can start to target information, and then build/integrate services into the account.

Lisa stated that climate is growing profile in ICT thinking. They are currently baselining their climate impacts from ICT use, starting a proof of concept re remanufacturing our corporate asset to extend the life of it, and recycling to help with digital inclusion.

It’s been a busy year for digital Dorset as Lisa stated many more projects and initiatives from their 5G projects to the workforce champion programme and introduced some of the focus areas for next year which includes data predictive modelling and cyber security in connected places. Lisa highlighted the engagement happening with techUK to further the conversation with industry to drive innovation.

Digital Leeds: Integrated approach to innovation

Our final speaker was Stephen Blackburn, Strategy & Innovation Manager for Leeds City Council/Leeds ICB. Stephen spoke about Leeds new integrated digital service which reflects a radical restructure, a new appointment of a Chief Technology Officer and a Chief Data Officer role which shows the commitment to utilising new technologies going forward and how they deliver services and make better use of the data. New structure within the service is about laying the foundations on how they digitally change the organisation and transform digital services and support services across the organisation.

Stephen shared details of Leeds new City Digital Strategy which is split into two parts. The first is digital foundations and the second is a person centred approach.  The latter looks at the life-course approach, how digital can support people throughout their lives.

Stephen highlighted Leeds wants to be even more ambitious going forward, developing an annual rolling programme of innovation aligned to the Digital strategy and roadmap and delivering a city innovation platform. It is also about working collaboratively across the city and being co-ordinated. Stephen shared some exciting programme of events for suppliers to get involved in, including GovTech Challenge days and hackathons.

And the predictions from our speakers for 2023 are…

  • More than 600 million of relevant ICT contracts in local government will come up for renewal and suppliers who are planning ahead and get in front of these opportunities will do well.
  • Real focus on how we deliver innovative service and use technology as a result of financial pressures.
  • More emphasis on robotic process automation.
  • Using technology to have inclusive and accessible workplaces and places in a hybrid world.
  • Greater emphasis on cyber security in context of connected places
  • Continued trend of local government delivery around a place agenda.
  • Usage of location data in local government, the wider public sector and the commercial sector will continue to grow
  • Data and system interoperability will be a core local government requirement
  • Property lifecycle information will inform service planning and delivery
  • The requirement for more systems and software will be designed to include UPRNs and definitive address data will grow

You can watch the full recording below 

Share your 2023 tech local government predictions using hashtag #futuregazing and tagging @techUK

For further predictions and insights on the biggest local government tech trends, listen to the latest episode of the techUK podcast where we are joined by London Office for Technology & Innovation, Jadu and Capita.

Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Associate Director, Local Public Services, techUK

Ileana Lupsa

Ileana Lupsa

Programme Manager, Local Public Services and Nations and Regions, techUK

Tracy Modha

Team Assistant - Markets, techUK