I can guarantee that your organisation isn’t making the most of the information it holds – either for its own benefit, for the benefit of other local public services, the local economy, and the community.

There is massive potential in better use of information – a while ago I was involved in a project that showed 96% of data requested in 45 application forms was contained in just two of the most frequently used ones. I’ve also spent the past four years trying to get the DWP to give local authorities better access to its data to save councils over £50 million a year.

Last year Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s biggest mistake was underestimating mobile and that Facebook “burned” two years as a result. That is perhaps something for local public services to consider. Indeed The International Society for Technology in Education has stated that the use of tablets and mobile applications will reach mass adoption by mid-2013.

By the same token the BBC estimates that perhaps only 79% of the UK population are online – meaning that approximately 10.8 million people aged 15 and over don’t use the internet at all.

The implications of the growing digital divide are significant for local public services – the information we hold can provide critical insights that enable service transformation, can stimulate innovation and economic development, can be used to improve transactional efficiency and can enable us to work more effectively with our partner organisations. But if we go too far towards digital we will alienate and cut off many of the most reliant and in need.

So local public service digital strategies are important. But what are the core components to consider and who should own them?

This blog is the first of a series that will come out week by week and will look at different aspects of local digital strategies which I hope will provide some food for thought and debate. I want to try to keep them relatively short so they will be deliberately not be exhaustive – if you want to get into the depth and richness of the “how” please get involved in iNetwork – you’d be welcome.

These are my core components for a effective local public service digital strategy.

  • Transactional efficacy: integrating front and back offices.
  • Digital substitutes: enabling more effective support for people..
  • Better self service: the DIY option.
  • Health and care integration: digital solutions for public service reform.
  • Social media and capital: developing more resilient communities.
  • Digital places: Creating space for enterprise to be born, grow and innovate.
  • Digital democracy: Connecting the disconnected.
  • Information assets: Knowing what you’ve got.
  • Digital Ownership: We need more champions.

I hope you find this useful – comments and feedback appreciated.