Local Digital Fund dishes out £1.25m to 16 councils in first investment round
One sixth of £7.5m available funding pot is allocated after first tranche of applications
Sixteen local authorities were given a total of £1.25m in the first tranche of money awarded through the government’s Local Digital Fund.
The fund was launched in July by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Local authorities can apply for a slice of funding to invest in digital services or other innovations.
In answer to a written parliamentary question, minister for the northern powerhouse and local growth Jake Berry revealed that 77 councils put themselves forward during the first round of applications, which closed on 15 November.
Some 27 of these were shortlisted, with 16 projects ultimately selected to receive a cumulative total of £1,251,492.
With more than 80% of the fund yet to be awarded, there will be two further investment rounds during the 2019/20 financial year.
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Berry said: “We will use the 2019/20 funding rounds to develop and scale the most promising innovations we’ve invested in this time around, and the team will be sharing their lessons and plans openly via the MHCLG Digital blog.”
Alongside this Local Digital Fund, MHCLG will be providing digital skills training to 1,000 local authority staff over the coming weeks and months. This work will see the government investing an additional £1m.
Launched concurrently with the fund last year was the Local Digital Declaration, a document jointly developed by MHCLG and the Government Digital Service. Council leaders can sign the declaration and commit to two sets of actions and goals: one for senior managers and councillors; and one for digital, IT, and transformation teams.
Managers and elected members can pledge to “make sure that digital expertise is central to our decision-making”, as well as committing to publicly champion transformation. Technology professionals, meanwhile, can signal their intent to adopt reusable code and common components, and test new services against GDS standards for local government.
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