Editorial

Government opens wallet to help local authorities do more digital work

Whitehall is looking to aid bids that can show promise in terms of boosting either the quality or the frequency of public services offered through innovative uses of digital technology

Posted 21 August 2019 by

Town Halls are being invited to bid for a chance to get more central funding to help with their local digital initiatives to to improve public service.

That’s in the shape of the £7.5m Local Digital Fund – a scheme launched a year ago and whose second round of grant allocations has just opened, according to the the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Local Government Minister Luke Hall MP

The Department is looking to aid bids that can show promise in terms of boosting either the quality or the frequency of public services offered through innovative uses of digital technology.

And, just as in 2018, lead councils from across the country will again be asked to partner with at least two other councils to share knowledge and ideas. 

The announcement was made by Local Government Minister Luke Hall, who added that grants of up to £350,000 from the Fund will be made available to winning bids.

“Councils are on the front line of exploring how we can harness technology to improve services while saving taxpayers’ money,” stated the Minister.

“Today we’re opening up the next round of applications for the Local Digital Fund [and] I would encourage all councils with innovative ideas that focus on residents’ needs to apply.”

A total of 57 local authorities took part in Local Digital Fund projects during the first round, with 16 projects achieving completion, including a probe by Birmingham City Council and two partners into how new technologies like Alexa and chatbots have the potential to reduce the need for face-to-face care visits and the costs involved.

Go here to find out how to apply.