It has been perhaps 15 years since such a similar ambition was aired and this is an opportunity not to be squandered.

Initiated by pre-election political statements, work continues at the Dept for Communities and Local Government on a “digital” proposition for local public services in the autumn Spending Review. Current proposals centre on the “transactional” and “transformational” opportunities with, unsurprisingly, most interest in the latter given sector priorities reflected in programmes like the Better Care Fund, Integration Pioneers, Troubled Families and the like.

Various colleagues in the DCLG have been collating supporting materials – including several from iNetwork such as our historic “cost to serve” and “cost architecture” benchmarking work and £50-£80m savings identified through the reuse of DWP data in assessing social care charging. In addition iNetwork’s Digital Managers Forum has provided a framework for our response and NDL’s detailed annual digital survey contains valuable insights.

Similarly the LGA is preparing detailed proposals. We reviewed this on 8 July at the Local Government Delivery Council with Cathy Francis, DCLG Deputy Director (

The current DCLG thinking is wide ranging so we took this opportunity to highlight the two principle areas which colleagues frequently cite as priorities. Both require national leadership to resolve. These are:

1. Interoperability: Developing and enforcing a local government system supplier standard through which anyone selling into the sector must comply with an sector wide interoperability framework.
2. Data sharing: Setting up a body which sits alongside the ICO ( to provide legal guidance on data sharing to local government and support policy makers in Whitehall to consider the data sharing implications of proposed legislation and regulations.

There are other important points to consider including representative leadership, skills, sharing platforms, open data standards and good practice sharing. With support from colleagues across iNetwork we will be continuing to push for a constructive programme of support which aligns with wider sector priorities.

The DCLG has sent out a survey via Chief Executives to capture further information. There’s more on this here.

If you feel you should have received this and want to comment please contact your Chief Executive (or Executive support) in the first instance. The deadline was 9 July so if you haven’t seen it please respond quickly.

Our next Digital Managers Forum is on 16 July. More details here: