27 May 2022

Guest blog: Regional collaboration and digital innovation

Guest blog by Lauren Londors, Digital Marketing Executive of Shaping Cloud

The need to create commonality across services and collaborate, while ensuring citizens feel safe and secure, has become increasingly important when designing and delivering public services.

Due to ongoing budget cuts, many public sector organisations have had no choice but to become more efficient in how they operate. This has resulted in making difficult but necessary decisions to reduce essential spending, restructure workforces, and completely redesign job roles. For some, this also meant sharing back-office services. Something that was before seen to be complex and difficult.

Regional collaboration and digitally innovative ideas

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is a city region made up of 10 councils working with other local services, businesses, and wider communities to focus on issues that affect all 2.8 million citizens within the region.

In late 2019, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP) and GMCA came together seeking a solution that would support simple and safe citizen and professional access to health and local government services.

Both public sector organisations sought to rationalise resources, share assets, control authentication and authorisation, and lessen the red tape when working with other public sector organisations and the public.

GMHSCP commissioned digital innovators and technology experts Shaping Cloud to provide insight into the region’s current practice and help inform and transform access to health and care in the region.


Effective collaboration by buyer and supplier identified common challenges:

  • Because of multiple systems and associated login credentials, organisations spent valuable time helping users understand and manage these credentials
  • Movement of staff between organisations and positions was becoming more complex, making collaborative working more difficult
  • Tech in place was no longer meeting the emergent needs of organisations, and legislative and resource demands were increasing

It was clear that a new and innovative approach was needed, and a regional Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution was the right answer.

GM Identity

GM Identity (GMID) took the best of the latest standards and developments in IAM, incorporating those concepts and protocols into a new and innovative digital product, enabling seamless access and sharing of applications and data across organisational boundaries (and within regions).

GMID incorporates NHS standards, NHS Mail and NHS Login. Combined, this creates a flexible and secure federated identity, authentication and authorisation service ideal for local government and NHS organisations.

GMID is an innovative and continuously evolving product designed to streamline resources, share assets, control authentication and authorisation, and reduce the red tape we see when trying to work across the public sector.

Through GMID, information can be shared between the public, health care professionals, and local authority representatives, safe in the knowledge that the data is secure and accessed by appropriate parties.

The system is auditable and observable (transparent and recorded), heterogeneous (adaptable) and eliminates duplication of current functionality, providing a complementary service which is re-usable across different touchpoints.

For more insight into the solution and outcome of GM Identity please refer to Shaping Cloud’s GMCA & GMHSCP case study.

Innovative achievements through collaboration

The collaboration between Shaping Cloud, GMCA, and GMHSCP has resulted in a system that allows the flow of information to facilitate real-world working practices and solve user problems so they access the services they need, when they need them.

GMID is being used by applications to reduce smoking in pregnancy, digitise child development plans, and facilitate interactions with various stakeholders regarding school-age children’s development requirements.

Due to the success of GMID, there are further discussions happening to onboard applications that can help local authorities and other relating organisations reduce homelessness, facilitate education funding, aid hospital discharge and support patients’ treatment journeys.

Shaping Cloud are hopeful that public sector organisations can learn and benefit from the innovative approach that has been taken with GMCA and GMHSCP.

Lauren Londors, Digital Marketing Executive of Shaping Cloud discusses the possibilities of digital innovation when public sector organisations collaborate across a region. You will find insight into how commonality, consolidation and collaboration play a crucial role in the future of the public sector; and GM Identity, the tech that enables collaboration across public sector organisations in Greater Manchester.

 Local Public Services Innovation: Creating a catalyst for change



techUK, in collaboration with its Local Public Services Committee, has published a new report making the case for enhanced digital innovation adoption across the UK’s local public services to improve citizens’ lives. The report, ‘Local Public Services Innovation: Creating a catalyst for change



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