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Developing local digital leadership skills and capacity

The purpose of this paper is to identify ways in which the leadership skills and capacity required in local government to understand and exploit digital tools and approaches effectively can best be developed and supported. This includes enabling councils and their local partners to apply appropriate digital solutions, delivering better outcomes, improving the experience of their shared customers and workforces, and reducing costs. It will also involve systematically sharing and mainstreaming any knowledge and assets created and scaling up appropriate ‘exemplars’ to the benefit of the whole sector, citizens and taxpayers.

The paper is one of a linked set of submissions to inform the Spending Review 2015 that will also address:

• how councils can use digital tools and techniques and exploit digital platforms to improve their online transactional services, so that citizens and businesses can find
information or complete their dealings with their local authority in ways that are convenient to them and also save public money
• how councils can use ‘digital’, building on existing exemplars, to support the transformational place-based approaches to delivering outcomes that councils are seeking to implement in their localities in collaboration with local partners (including citizens themselves)
• the options for delivering the coordinated programme leadership and support, built on tried-and-tested programme management and invest-to-save principles, required to provide the necessary links between local, regional and national initiatives, to maximise the mainstreaming of learning and good practice across the sector and to tackle cross-cutting issues such as data sharing and procurement.

Taken together, therefore, the four papers set out a high-level case for investing in a coordinated and comprehensive programme of support to enable local government to maximise the customer benefits and cost savings that can be generated from exploiting the potential of modern digital tools, technologies and approaches in local public services.