Think tank backs shared web platform for local government

Calls for local government to form a single platform to provide web services have been backed by a right-leaning think tank.

Calls for local government to form a single platform to provide web services have been backed by a right-leaning think tank.

A Technology Manifesto released by think tank Policy Exchange today examined how local and national government can use ICT to transform public services.

It said that a single digital platform, similar to central government’s, could help councils deal with budgetary pressures and improve services.

It said: “Though they must be free to determine their own course, local authorities will fail to achieve the benefits of digital government if they try to undergo the transformation completely independently of one another.

“A local GDS hub should be established to help them apply platform technologies, converge on open standards and replace more than 400 local authority websites with a single domain in the style of”

The idea of a single local government digital platform was mooted last year in a blog posting by Richard Copley, head of ICT at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

He called for the creation of a Local Government Digital Service (LDGS) to oversee the standardisation and improvement of digital services in councils.

According to Copley, creating standardised services could reap significant savings by reducing up to 25,000 software applications currently run by authorities across England.

At the time, he said: “Copley said: “If each council agreed to subscribe to an LGDS and paid just £3,000 per year we’d be able deliver a platform which would remove the need for individual council websites…” 

The Policy Exchange report also said that platforms based  on open standards should be established to give citizens an automated  way to send data to government.

It said: “This would empower communities to report on and help resolve issues in their local communities, from  pot holes to park littering.”

In addition, the manifesto said, public sector bodies should be required  to audit and declare the non-personal  datasets they hold, and publish a  schedule for their future release.

It said: “This process would increase transparency and strengthen the role of the Open Data User Group, by letting citizens and  businesses see what data is available to  request.”

Colin Marrs

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