The UK Government injects £7.5 million into council digital agenda with launch of new sector pledge

A new “digital pledge” backed by £7.5 million of government funding has been launched to help councils transform their online services. This aims to change the way councils invest in technology, share expertise and ensure members of the public and businesses are receiving the best quality digital services. Over 50 local authorities, government departments and partner organisations have already signed up to the pledge, called the Local Digital Declaration, agreeing a common vision for the future of local services.

Birmingham City Council is a co-author of the Local Digital Declaration, which is a shared commitment to provide the foundations needed for the future generation of local digital public services.

Although Birmingham City Council is large in scale, with significant challenges, the aim is to learn and work together across the Public and Commercial sectors to deliver the value for citizens that is expected. 
Technology can play a leading role in facilitating better services and the declaration sets a clear ambition for doing that. The Council’s vision for technology is that it must be a strategic enabler of change supporting the council to be the best it can be. Technology and the new ways of working it enables will play a critical role in helping it to achieve its core outcomes. 

The overarching principle of its ICT and Digital Strategy 2016-2021 is to ‘Simplify, Standardise and Share’. Applying this principle enables the whole council to gain  maximum benefit from its investment in technology and digital services, delivering real digital change to improve services for  residents and local businesses, for example : – 

  • Smart City 2.0”  – improving our digital infrastructure to support economic growth, 4G and 5G, digital inclusion and skills – working in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)
  • improved self-service for customers – re-engineering our service delivery to gain maximum advantage of new technology with a new website that simplifies how customer access services 24/7
  • new service models that take advantage of “digital” – integration of Health & Adult Social Care data to provide single view of patients and carers, with the “internet of things” integrated to support better care for the most vulnerable

The ‘Simplify, Standardise and Share’ approach to delivering Information, Technology and digital services also aligns with the Declaration’s five principles of internet age local public services, the detail of which is available on the Local Digital website.

Projects like the ERDF funded Big Data Corridor and Interreg Europe PURE COSMOS, are helping to extend learning, knowledge and facilitate a change in how services are delivered more effectively, through better use of data; streamlining processes and smart procurement that will encourage greater collaboration with SMEs. A regional action plan is being produced for Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP that reflects learning from other partners in Europe and will set out key targets to support a step change to how we drive productivity, update policy and strategy to maximise the opportunities of digital for business and delivery of Council services. 

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(Source: Birmingham City Council)