The Local Digital Fund Initiative is a community of organisations which works collaboratively. The aim is to deliver local public services that are user-centred and cost-effective.
The group is supported by funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MGCLG). They provide training and funding to all signatories and selected projects.
The challenge was set up to utilise data and digital tools to help local communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this, the MHCLG has awarded funding to projects which made advances during this period.
Out of 125 applications from 94 different councils, 11 were awarded the funding.
The projects are categorised into;
The categories were identified through workshops and user research projects to determine the challenges that councils are facing.
The UK’s Local Government Minister Simon Clarke said: “Councils have made huge efforts to support their residents at this testing time – by housing rough sleepers quickly, supporting vulnerable people and ensuring services such as bin collections continue.”
“They have had to adapt their services from in-person to online, using technology to do so and I am determined to capitalise on this and use everything we have learned to improve efficiency and make services better for residents and communities.”
“That’s why we’re giving them £800k to build on the rapid digital innovation of recent months so that local communities continue to feel the benefits of more efficient public services.”
The Local Digital Fund has split the £800k of support between the following projects.
Their project models and anticipates an increased demand to help vulnerable children and their families.
The council has been granted the funding to develop a digital tool which can identify overcrowding. The tool will warn of potential breaches in social distancing requirements, allowing citizens to make more informed decisions.
The organisations have been awarded funding for a project to improve data communications between councils and voluntary services. The outcome will allow the organisations to offer better support to vulnerable members of the community post-pandemic.
Their project is focussed on designing future working patterns. The work will help to ensure staff safety and reduce low levels of productivity.
The work will use lessons learned from COVID-19 to improve the emergency response capabilities of local teams.
The council’s project will work to facilitate face-to-face interactions to enable access and support to council services for all.
This project will add extra functionality to the smartphone app they have developed. The functionality will help to prevent overcrowding on beaches, enabling social distancing to be maintained.
The focus is to develop digital functions to allow local residents to voice concerns on planning projects without having a physical presence.
The funding was received for the development of a digital playbook. This will include tools and systems that councils can implement for meetings and consultations.
The project will develop tools to enable council authorities to tackle digital exclusions within communities.
This merger project will work to speed up the process of identifying vulnerable people. This will allow councils to predict and provide the required support.
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