A total of 20 projects involving 34 councils will receive a share of a £560,000 fund set aside for digital schemes that will transform local services.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is funding councils in England to develop digital solutions to support work on national transformation programmes involving troubled families, health and social care integration and welfare reform. The aim is to develop digital solutions which can be reused by other councils and will enable them to operate more efficiently.
Examples of funded projects include a tool to identify the top 20 adults with complex adult social care needs and chaotic lives in Hounslow, a project in Wigan to develop a single view of a child’s record across multiple agencies, and expanding the troubled families programme in East Sussex.
As councils face the twin challenges of decreasing funding and increasing demand, they have found new ways of using technology to deliver services more effectively and to enable their staff to work in new ways, increasing productivity and reducing costs.
As well as councils having to deal with the impact of the changing fortunes of the local and national economy, they also face the challenges of demographic change, the implementation of major government initiatives including Universal Credit and troubled families, new public health responsibilities, the integration of health and social care and fundamental changes to the local government finance system.
Councils have been quick to recognise the opportunities offered by digital tools and approaches to target and deliver services better and save money. They have explored different methods of improving people’s access to services including using assistive technologies and telehealth care, online applications for school places, cashless parking payments and apps to inform or alert service users.
At the same time they have made their workforces more productive by introducing mobile technologies, route planning tools and video-conferencing.
Councillor David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “This programme seeks to build on this good work by enabling a group of councils to use digital tools and approaches to support their wider work to transform local public services. Local government has made huge progress in enabling residents to carry out transactions online. Councils now need to build on this good work and fully utilise digital technology to help deliver more efficient services to manage rising demand and expectations from their residents.
“Councils have championed the use of new technology as it emerges and we have highlighted opportunities for central and local government to share digital platforms for common online transactions, such as payments, as part of joining up how we deliver citizen and business focused public services.”
The successful bids
A total of 111 bids were made for LGA funding from the Local Government revenue support grant and the following were successful:
- Bournemouth (£25,000): integration of data across the council, health and range of partner agencies working together to support troubled families, to improve data quality and provide insight to inform decision making.
- Wigan (£25,000): to develop a single view of a child’s record to support integrated working across partners, reducing duplication and improving outcomes.
- Northumberland (£25,000): to support the development of a cloud-based public health portal enabling real time data.
- Tunbridge Wells, all Kent districts and Medway (£40,000): to develop and implement a new online homeless triage process including an online housing application pre-assessment form, a redesigned simpler version of the current online application form.
- Bexley (£25,000): to develop a data analytics system to link the existing Employment and Skills Management Information System, housing and troubled families data to help early intervention to tackle financial exclusion.
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (£40,000): Ensure customers have access to consistent information to enable them to resolve their needs, delivering No Wrong Place.
- Thurrock (£25,000): integration of various sources of health and social care data in order to maintain a healthy population.
- East Sussex (£25,000): Data matching and analytical tools for identifying and supporting vulnerable families and children.
- Blackpool (£25,000): the development of a social care financial assessment app to enable greater levels of self and assisted service.
- Adur, Worthing and West Sussex (£39,760): digitalising existing Going Local community referral service for health and wellbeing, creating a suite of digital services and apps.
- Camden (£25,000): integration of data sets from different partners supporting troubled families to better help multi-agency working.
- Dorset (£25,000): a business intelligence digital dashboard to deliver better targeted preventive services based on data to support children.
- Lewisham (£25,000): app for adult social care to provide access to information and services to support wellbeing and maintain independence.
- Hounslow (£25,000): multi-agency intelligence tool for identifying the top 20 adults with complex needs and chaotic lives.
- Cumbria (£25,000): implement live integration of GP and local authority social care record to provide access (based on consent) to social care and health staff.
- North Somerset (£25,000): create data analytic tools enabling early identification of those families most likely to benefit from intervention.
- Leeds and Calderdale (£40,000): define open data standards underpinning integration of health and social care.
- Worcestershire (£25,000): creation of information sharing platform for all the different organisations involved in safeguarding children.
- Halton (£25,000): app to capture and analyse data from high risk patients with complex needs living at home/residential care to improve their quality of life.
- Birmingham (£25,000); app that will include a selection of web forms and tools to aid workflow and education and health care plan processes.
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