I have a soft spot for local government, it’s where most people’s interactions with government happen, and yet it is also one of the most underfunded parts. Arguably constraint is the mother of invention and local government doesn’t get enough credit for the work they do to to deliver services for citizens effectively and cheaply. So I asked twitter to share with me some examples of great collaboration in local gov, here’s some great examples that were shared:
Hey #LocalGov peeps, what's your best examples of cross-council/authority collaboration? Inspire me!— Ian Ames (@IanAmes) September 15, 2020
LocalGovDigital is a network of digital practitioners that emerged in 2012 arguably at the height of digital government zeitgeist in the UK. It’s aim is to aid the delivery of better, cheaper local services by councils across the country, through the re-design of services around the capabilities the internet and digital technology provide.
There is an active slack community, local peer groups, and of course LocalGovCamp, a yearly unconference. So much collaboration happens through small regular interactions, and LocalGovDigital is perfect for fulfilling that need.
Councils on the whole offer much the same services, yet most councils build bespoke CMS’s to fulfill these needs. LocalGov drupal is an attempt to cut down the duplication. It is an open source project, and like all good open source projects it has emerged from collaboration between Brighton and Hove CC, Croydon CC and many others. The distribution is based on the best practice guidance from GDS (the Government Digital Service). You can read more about how the project grew in this post by Aleck.
MHCLG Local Digital Fund
There are a lot of my digital heroes at MHCLG (Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government) and they are doing great work bringing councils together to work collaboratively on a range of projects funded by them.
They work in the open, you can find out about all the projects they are funding on their projects page, more importantly they list all the projects they haven’t funded and why so future applicants don’t waste time applying for something that’s been rejected before.
LocalGov IMS Project
This project is one of those funded by MHCLG above, the reason I call it out over others is because the Councils and LGA’s partnering on it are geographically dispersed. Most collaborative projects happen between councils that are next to one another, and I’m always interested in people working effectively together a long way from one another.
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Dorset Council, and DXW are partnering to explore the income management and ePayment systems in use across local government with a view to understanding how the current marketplace meets our needs and whether or not there is value and opportunity enough to share Barnsley’s own solution.
I love this, it’s a great example of the common services all councils provide that could be done effectively and cheaply as a common service. It’s building on the idea’s of early GDS and Richard Pope’s Government as a Platform concepts and I am here for it!
Delt and Publica
Both Delt and Publica are private companies that are owned by the councils they provide services for. I’ve recently joined Delt and was intrigued by our operating model. Delt are owned by Plymouth City Council and Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and we provide IT services for them both, additionally we have a wide range of other customers.
Publica wholly run the service delivery for Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean Council, and West Oxford Council.
It’s another example or cost saving across councils by pooling resources, the interesting part of the model is as a private company we generate revenue for the council too.
London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI).
LOTI have been around since June 2019 to support a coalition of 18 London boroughs who want to work together, bringing the best of digital, data and innovation to improve public services for Londoners.
Again LOTI work in the open and have a handy resources section with guidance for common technology projects which any council can take advantage of!
Improvement Service Spatial Hub.
Scotland are always doing a smashing job at geospatial data services. When I used to work at HM Land Registry our team had a regular catchphrase:
What would Registers of Scotland do?
We held their services in such high regard when we were building Find Property Information.
Similarly the rather strangely named Improvement Service Spatial Hub is a common geospatial hub for all of Scotland’s local geospatial data. Anyone that’s worked with trying to get geospatial data consistent in one organisation will know what a huge achievement this is. Geospatial data is such an important and under utilised resource and being able to easily see data beyond council boundaries is important for larger macro projects such as road building. It’s a great example of government data being provided to citizens in a way that is useful to them, rather than reflecting the organisations they originate from.
What other awesome local government collaborative projects do you like?