18 Dec 2023

Event round-up: Future Gazing: Where next for local government tech in 2024?

Reflections on the digital trends of the past year and predictions for 2024

2024: Year of radical innovation and AI

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 2024!

There is a steady stream of opportunities in the local government ICT market

First up we heard from Lorna Ingwell, Senior Researcher at Tussell who shared some great data insights and visualizations on the size of the market, the biggest buyers, and frameworks most used by councils. Technology spend in local government is large, but has grown more slowly than other areas of the public sector. It has grown 15% from FY18-19 – FY22/23. The top 10 buyers account for 20% of the total Local Gov’t ICT procurement alone, and are spread across regions and around 45% of the Local Government ICT market is held by just 10 leading suppliers. Frameworks are becoming an increasingly popular route to market within the Local Government ICT space. With the most spend going through G-Cloud. The good news is that there is 800m worth of ICT service contracts coming up for renewal with local government over the next two years.

Move from ‘fix the plumbing to digital platforms’

Sharna Quirke, Strategic Director for Local Government and Health, Hitachi Solutions and Chair of techUK’s Local Public Services Committee (LPSC) spoke about the importance of digital platforms and how they enable organisational shift, new operating models and new roles and functions that did not previously exist. We are seeing a shift from ‘fixing the plumbing’ to digital platforms. Moving away from a big bang approach to transformation, but one of incremental change working towards a vision.

Sharna then introduced the four pillars the LPSC will be focussing in and invited members and councils to share their views and get involved as the mission of the group is “to become a ‘voice’ of the technology industry, which local government seeks to listen to and share insights and problems with, in the aim of solving significant challenges in collaboration”.  The areas include innovation, skills, procurement and influence. As well as launching a Local Government Leaders Forum that provides a platform for industry to engage with industry. Get in touch with [email protected] if you’d like to get involved.

Celebrating local government

Eddie Copeland, Director, London Office for Technology & Innovation (LOTI) began by stating how proud he is of local government colleagues working in impossible circumstances, with the spiralling demand of many services. We have seen councils pivot, putting innovation and data into the heart of services. Remarkably LOTI members, London boroughs, can now do data sharing agreements in weeks not years. Eddie also highlighted the strategic partnership with techUK, helping to broker important conversations with industry and the work done on skills. It was inspiring to hear how this year LOTI has been able to help join up data on rough sleeping, providing a higher chance to design interventions services for the most vulnerable. And also radically trial new ways of working in social care.

Eddie noted that while councils continue to battle with financial pressures and are looking at ways of making cashable savings there are exciting trends and opportunities in generative AI. Unlike other hyped technologies, everyone has had the chance to play with generative AI. It will be able to free up people from mundane tasks. Eddie warned that we will need to get serious about data governance and suppliers need to be allies in helping local government access their data.

De-risking innovation

Eddie highlighted that we are now in a paradox – pressures mean no choice but to innovate radically but councils are so stripped back it’s impossible to invest in innovation as quickly as we need. A solution offered is a sandbox for local government to de-risk innovation for the sector.

Opportunities beyond generative AI

Paul Maltby, Director of AI Transformation in Government, Faculty AI reflected on the state of play from his previous experience as former CDO at DLUHC. He recognised how far forward the local government sector has come. It has grown its digital capability and also stepped up its security of local services. While he noted that the software market is still dominated by traditional suppliers.

Paul stated that we have reached the peak of the AI hype circle and that opportunities are not just in generative models of AI. Something to consider is also how suppliers will embed AI into their existing solutions.

And the predictions from our speakers for 2024 are…

  • £800m worth of ICT service contracts coming up for renewal with Local Gov’t over the next 2 years.
  • A local government innovation sandbox will launch and be successful.
  • There will be a continuation in the use of smart city technology in London to do something meaningful in climate change.
  • Greater application of AI in local government. Great AI comes with great data, local government will get their house in order to achieve everything AI can do.
  • AI to become part of the normal SAS toolkit.
  • There will be a few dozen early AI prototypes in the sector that will lead to a greater conversation on the size of the opportunity.

You can watch the full recording below

Ileana Lupsa

Ileana Lupsa

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

Ileana Lupsa is the Programme Manager for Local Public Services and Nations and Regions, at techUK.

Ileana studied electronics, telecommunications and IT as an undergraduate, followed by an MSc in engineering and project management at Coventry University.

She refined her programme management expertise through her most recent roles working in the automotive industry.

Ileana is passionate about sustainability and creating a positive impact globally through innovation.

[email protected]

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Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Associate Director, Local Public Services, techUK

Georgina is techUK’s Associate Director for Local Public Services

Georgina works with suppliers that are active or looking to break into the market as well as with local public services to create the conditions for meaningful transformation. techUK regularly bring together local public services and supplier community to horizon scan and explore how the technologies of today and tomorrow can help solve some of the most pressing problems our communities face and improve outcomes for our people and places.

Prior to techUK, Georgina worked for a public policy events company where she managed the policy briefing division and was responsible for generating new ideas for events that would add value to the public sector. Georgina worked across a number of portfolios from education, criminal justice, and health but had a particular interest in public sector transformation and technology. Georgina also led on developing relationships across central and local government.

If you’d like to learn more about techUK, or want to get involved, get in touch.

[email protected]
020 7331 2029

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Local Public Services Programme

techUK's Local Public Services Programme provides the forum for local public services to engage with industry to better understand the innovations out there, horizon-scan how the technologies of today and tomorrow can re-imagine local public services and solve some of the most pressing challenges our communities and places face. It also helps connect suppliers with each other, identify new business partnerships to help grow an ever thriving local government ecosystem.

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The Working Group acts a neutral forum for knowledge exchange across the supplier base and for public sector stakeholders to engage with the market. While identifying common challenges and solutions and offering the opportunity to leverage synergies to partner as often an ecosystem approach is needed to solve a problem.

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