Think tank hones local GDS proposal

Written by Colin Marrs on 27 January 2015 in News
News

Think tank Policy Exchange has scaled back its proposal for a local Government Digital Service (LGDS), saying it should be limited to creating and managing an online app store.

Last year, a report from the organisation called for a local GDS to oversee the replacement of all local authority websites with a single domain in the style of .gov.uk.

However, a fresh report released yesterday withdrew this call in the wake of a lack of support within the sector and from politicians.

It said: “Local authorities do not need a version of the Government Digital Service to build their online transactions or apps.

“That would entail government becoming a monopoly supplier of IT to itself, the very antithesis of innovation.”

It said that, instead, the LGDS should limit itself to creating a “local government data marketplace” (LGDM) operating to open standards, allowing innovative developments to be scaled up across all councils.

“The LGDM would be a competitive online marketplace that brought together local authorities that needed particular online services (transactions, apps or data) with individuals, businesses and other organisations that could provide them,” the report said.

Because the LGDS would not build the apps itself, it would require only a small staff, and could be run by volunteer organisations such as LocalGov Digital or membership body Socitm, Policy Exchange said.

By taking a small commission on services, the LGDS could become self-funding, it suggested.

A statement from Socitm – which has previously opposed a local GDS - said that the think tank’s new position had “much merit”.

However, it added that “One size cannot fit all, and local determination is a fundamental component of local public services, so a local GDS type service must remain flexible and adaptable to local needs…”

In November, an independent review of digital government for the Labour Party rejected the idea of a local Government Digital Service in favour of a network of new “local digital factories”.

The Policy Exchange report also called for the Public Services Network (PSN) and N3 (used by the NHS) to be merged to create a Single Public Services Network (SPSN).

Share this page

Tags

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Government must earn public trust that AI is being used safely and responsibly
5 January 2023

Leaders from two of government’s core digital and data units – the CDDO and CDEI – introduce new guidelines intended to promote transparency in the public sector’s use of algorithms

PublicTechnology’s biggest stories of the year
29 December 2022

A reminder of the shocks, scandals and success stories that shaped the world of government technology in 2022

National Archives head: ‘Organisational culture and cohesion is vital in the digital age’
20 December 2022

Jeff James reflects on delivering major digitisation work while working in lockdown conditions

Common complaints – why the ICO is considering revamping FOI casework
7 December 2022

A ‘perfect storm’ of factors helped create a significant backlog of information-access complaints – but the data watchdog has a plan to improve. PublicTechnology takes a closer look.