DLUHC launches Future Councils playbook

Toolkit created as part of £6m pilot programme to help understand barriers to transformation in local government and provide tools to deal with issues including costs and breaking organisational siloes

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has launched a package of tools aimed at helping councils to better understand and explain their individual barriers to digital transformation.

Its Future Councils playbook has been developed as part of the £6m Future Councils pilot programme that ran between May and November last year, allocating £750,000 to each of eight participants.

The four tools were produced to help the pilot authorities explore the root causes that were stopping services becoming more modern and resilient – and to instead view them as “a real opportunity” for service transformation.

One of the tools focuses on expense, and helps to articulate the full range of potential costs from a particular problem, such as financial impacts on staff, council services and residents – boosting understanding of the scale of the problem at hand.

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Another is aimed at helping councils “get under the surface of a problem” and find the root cause, and offer a “visual and engaging approach” to help colleagues openly discuss issues from multiple perspectives.

Other elements of the playbook – which can be downloaded from DLUHC’s localdigital.gov.uk site – can be used to address organisational siloes and help authorities explore the relationship between the problems they are experiencing.

DLUHC said last week that it is planning to share findings from the Future Councils pilots “very soon”, but is releasing the playbook as an interim measure.

The Future Councils pilot authorities were Broadland District Council and South Norfolk Council, Cornwall Council, Dorset Council, Leicester City Council, the London Borough of Lewisham, Reading Borough Council, South Tyneside Council and Stevenage Borough Council.

DLUHC said each of the authorities was at a different point in their digital transformation and had different priorities.

The department said it hoped that the playbook would promote “a systems-thinking mindset” that would support other authorities to explore their own transformation challenges.

Jim Dunton

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