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’
The report outlines how local public services can grasp the innovation opportunity and maximise the benefits they derive from digital technologies and their suppliers. The pandemic has catapulted the digital transformation of many local public services, shifting to mass remote working and adopting more agile ways of working to spin up new services with partners. However, there is untapped innovation within local government and recent challenges, such as supply chain disruptions, public finance cuts, and the rising demand and expectations of citizens, mean that ongoing digital innovation is necessary to ensure the swift delivery of local public services.
The report urges councils to put cross-industry collaboration at the core of their approaches and to rethink how they utilise procurement and market engagement to enable better innovation.
techUK recognises that councils often struggle to be fully empowered when it comes to maximising the benefit and value they can derive from tech. As such, the report lists five recommendations for local public services to transform digitally faster and better:
- Signposting what good early market engagement looks like: bureaucracy can stifle innovation and the procurement rules often make it difficult to allow for engagement with industry. techUK urges council leaders to signpost the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Playbook to their procurement and digital teams for them to adopt and implement.
- Creating an innovation-friendly ecosystem: local government officials need to be empowered to make a change by experimenting with different digital tools that better suit their needs. CEOs should create a culture of innovation where there is the option to experiment and a no-blame culture.
- Building a central repository of innovation funding: to help local public services understand what funding is available and how to access it we encourage, the Local Digital Collaboration Unit at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities should curate a repository of all the innovation funding pots that exist to enable local authorities to experiment and take the risk to pilot new digital innovation.
- Establishing a regional Chief Digital Officer forum: to help improve collaboration locally, between industry and public services, there should be Chief Digital Officer forums in the UK’s nations and regions.
- Joining techUK’s Innovators Network: The Innovators Network for councils will enable and empower councils to connect with innovators to access the latest technologies in a neutral forum to help solve some of the most pressing challenges they face.
“In this paper, techUK sets out how local public services can grasp the innovation opportunity and maximise the benefits they derive from digital technologies and their suppliers. To innovate we need to collaborate across both public sector and the supplier base. We look forward to working with local public service partners to make the case for innovation a reality through our series of market engagement opportunities and newly launched Innovators Network.”
“techUK’s paper aims to explore how we can drive real innovation that ultimately improves outcomes for places and citizens. It is only by working together that we can make a real impact, which is why the newly founded techUK Innovators Network is an exciting step forward in this collaborative process. We look forward to working with partners across the public sector ecosystem to drive innovation and transform our local public services for the better.”
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