More support must be given to local government in order to improve digital services and a new body should be funded to reduce digital duplication, according to one of the sector’s leaders.
In a submission to the government’s review of the UK digital strategy, Phil Rumens, vice chair of digital networking group LocalGov Digital, has called for an extension in the remit of the Government Digital Service (GDS) to work formally with local government.
Rumens says that extending the role of GDS into local authorities would give them access to the platforms being built by the organisation, such as the one for payments, and enable them to share data through registers. In the process this would save the taxpayer millions of pounds a year whilst providing the public with a better service.
GDS has received £450 million to cover its work for the Spending Review period, which has increased the calls for it to focus more of its work on local authorities.
Joining the dots
Talking about his suggested new organisation, Rumens believes that it “just needs a few people to start to join things up between councils, central government, and everyone else looking to improve the digital services the public sector offers”.
He added: “The GDS works in the open and some councils already use the resources they have online such as the Government Service Design Manual. Extending the remit of GDS to local public services would provide hands-on expertise in delivering world class digital services locally. This could be co-ordinated by the new body so the GDS doesn’t have to visit all 400+ councils.”
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