Pilots to encourage council digital services collaboration

Council ICT professional network LocalGov Digital will pilot two project teams aimed at improving collaboration between councils developing web services, it has announced.


LocalGov has published information about the creation of Makers Project Teams, aimed at providing a “bottom-up” approach to the design of web services for local authorities.

The pilots are the latest development in the ongoing discussion on how to create efficiencies of scale among local government web services without sacrificing local innovation and accountability.

A statement on the LocalGov Digital website said: “Working together councils can create better digital services for their residents and help break the cycle of building or buying the same functionality in every local authority. Not only will this create extra capacity, it will give localgov digital staff access to a much wider skill set, and most importantly, save councils money too.

“This arrangement will be more flexible that a Local Government Digital Service or a formal shared service, as it enables LocalGov Digital teams to remain directly accountable to residents and elected representatives, but gain the benefits of cross organisation collaboration.”

Teams will generally involve service designers, process designers, graphic designers, UX designers and developers, according to LocalGov Digital.​ Individuals within teams are likely to be located across the country, or even further afield, but connect through digital media.

Writing on his blog, Phil Rumens, vice-chair of LocalGov Digital and web development manager at West Berkshire Council said: “The pilots will not only create outputs to improve cross-council collaboration, they’ll allow those who take part to assess and improve how project teams work. Think of it as an alpha version of a project team creating a beta product.”

However, he warned that project teams need to have the necessary skills to produce whatever they are seeking to create.

He said: “However well joined up projects may be, if what they make isn’t as good as it might be, whilst at least it’s not lots of teams all independently doing so, ultimately, everyone loses out.”

The initiative will be discussed at a meeting being held by LocalGov Digital on 11 September in Guildford.

Colin Marrs

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