Common standards and approaches to digital transformation in local government have been agreed, potentially ushering in an era of digital technology use outside Whitehall.
The Local Government Digital Service Standard is derived from the Government Digital Service Standard used to drive digital transformation initiatives across central government.
It outlines a common approach for local authorities to deliver good quality, user-centred, value for money digital services.
The standard was published by the LocalGov Digital group, which brought together councils to work on the standard over a two-month inception and consultation period, and indicates the need to extend digital transformation beyond central government and into the wider public sector.
The Government Digital Service asked council staff and other interested parties for their views on a draft version of the standard at the end of February after input from over 50 councils.
The draft had 18 key recommendations which were narrowed down to 15 after a steering group of 11 members from different councils looked at feedback from the consultation.
Final suggestions in the published draft include creating a service using the agile, iterative and user-centred methods set out in the Government Service Design Manual, using open standards and making source code and service data open and reusable under appropriate licences.
Other points include evaluating tools and systems that will be used to build, host, operate and measure the service, and determining what user data will be provided or stored and ensuring that it is secure and complies with the law.
Missing from the published standard is guidance on the use of open source tools and analysis systems to measure the success of the service.
LocalGov Digital will form regional peer networks over the next few months to support councils in adopting the standard, and publish guidance on how best to implement each of the 15 points. A Digital Service Standard Summit will then be held in September.
Digital transformation in the public sector is often championed as a way to make public services more efficient in terms of cost and IT use and to deliver new and easily accessed services for citizens.
Digital transformation appears to be a relatively slow affair in local councils, so the Local Government Digital Service Standard could give councils the confidence to accelerate the adoption of new digital services and systems.
Peterborough City Council is a flag bearer for digital transformation in local government, having adopted several cloud services to move away from traditional IT operations to a more service-based model.
Digital transformation is becoming central to organisations of all types, and to celebrate this V3 has launched the V3 Digital Technology Leaders Awards. These are free to enter and open for submissions now.
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