Digital transformation in the future of local government

Digital transformation will play a vital role in the future of local government, and David Bemrose, Head of Account Strategy for Local Government at Crown Commercial Service (CCS), introduces a new digital transformation guide

Your technology buying decisions have the power to improve citizens’ lives. Technology innovation can enhance the delivery of digital services and support improvements in customer experience. But against a backdrop of squeezed budgets and economic uncertainty, many public sector organisations need help to achieve their digital transformation goals while reducing costs and creating efficiencies.

What is digital transformation in local government?

Digital transformation in local government aims to use technology to improve how the council serves its residents and other community stakeholders. It can enable citizens to access the services they need quickly and at their convenience, facilitating more efficient and effective administrative processes for council staff. 

With various communication options, such as interactive web pages, e-forms, and even dedicated apps for specific service needs, councils use digital transformation to interact with citizens in new and innovative ways. In addition, they are investing in back office systems, which enable better and easier data-sharing, increased flexibility of access for staff, and quicker and more effective decision-making.

Opportunities and challenges of digital transformation for local government

Digital transformation presents many opportunities for the future of local government. Firstly, it offers your customers more flexible access to services. It can also help you to meet your carbon net-zero targets with less need for residents and service users to travel to customer service centres.

However, there are also many challenges to digital transformation for local government, including existing incumbent technology and employee skill gaps.

Creating a successful digital transformation strategy

You will need to make many critical decisions as part of your strategic approach to digital transformation. CCS has produced a digital transformation guide informed by the Government’s 13-step Technology Code of Practice. Here are four steps from the guide for reference.

1. Defining customer needs

The first step is to understand your customers and their behaviour clearly. Your residents and service users all have differing needs. Some may contact you in a crisis – when they are homeless, in financial difficulty, or need to access social care, whereas others may want help with regular services. New technology must meet all your customers’ needs and reflect how they want to access your services.

2. Collaboration – working smartly

Effective collaboration with other local authorities can be highly cost-effective. It can prevent duplication of effort – allowing you to re-use technology, data, and services, share best practices, and work on common challenges. 

Lincoln Council and the London Borough of Southwark worked together to transform the management of housing repairs, using our digital marketplace for their procurement. They were able to save on resources – avoiding duplication of effort. 

3. Protecting customer data

You are also responsible for protecting the security and privacy of your customer’s personal information. Some data will belong to vulnerable individuals, including children in care and victims of domestic violence. As the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) state, you must protect all data.

Any breach could result in a significant fine or system failure and could place your residents and service users at risk. Again, software is available to meet this challenge. Consider using public cloud solutions, which give your customers a more secure, reliable, higher quality, and cost-effective service.

4. A strategic approach

Digital transformation presents many opportunities for the future of local government. Still, your approach must include a purchasing strategy if you want to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks. A clear purchasing strategy will help you understand what components, resources, support, and delivery mechanisms are needed and how to achieve the best social value for money.

How CCS can support local government digital transformation needs 

CCS offers diverse technology agreements to help with everything your council needs for its digital transformation journey – from consultancy to design, delivery, and implementation. 

Our solutions have been built with your needs in mind, and our technology experts can support you in finding the right products and services for your requirements. We understand the challenges of digital transformation in the public sector, which means we’re best placed to help councils succeed. 

Our technology categories cover the following:

  • Technology Products and Services
  • Digital Future
  • Cyber Security
  • Software
  • Network Services
  • Memorandums of Understanding

Affordable innovation 

CCS agreements are helping local authorities transform and improve services for citizens through effective and sustainable technology procurement. Advantages include: 

  • customised services through suppliers with the right capabilities to meet the needs of the client
  • no restriction on the value of an individual call-off contract 
  • access to small and medium-sized businesses that use an agile approach to design customers’ digital services

Our Technology Services 3 agreement provides access to technology services ranging from strategy and design to operational deployment. It also includes support for large projects, including top-secret classification and various other technology services such as provision and management of IT service desk, end-user device support, and network support.

CCS trade agreements use competition among suppliers to enhance competition and value. 

For example, all public sector organisations can use the latest Digital Outcomes and Specialists 6 agreement to find suppliers who can design, build, and deliver made-to-order digital services using an agile approach.

We have negotiated Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with many technology service providers. MoUs are designed to help public sector organisations achieve commercial benefits, including deeper discounts, reduced negotiation time, and opportunities to improve digital skills across your organisation.

National aggregation is another way to introduce savings into the digital transformation journey. Participating in aggregated buying can help you achieve savings of 20 to 70% or greater when procuring end-user devices, hardware, mobile, and networks. 

Find out more 
Download our digital transformation guide to learn more about these procurement routes to market 

Crown Commercial Service

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