The Government Digital Service's (GDS) remit should be extended to included local councils, according to the vice chairman of a local government group.
LocalGov Digital is a network of digital workers in local government which aims to raise standards across the country. Its vice chairman Paul Rumens wrote on his blog, in a personal capacity, that more needs to be done to support local councils to go digital.
His calls come as a response to the government which before Christmas asked for people to suggest ways of accelerating its digital progress.
Rumens pointed out that the GDS was earmarked for a £450m cash injection in the latest Spending Review but added that "local government was not so fortunate". With that in mind, he said existing bodies and processes can be extended to local government.
"I'm proposing extending both GDS' expertise and platform to local government, allowing them to work with councils," he said.
"For example, allowing councils to use the payment platform GDS is developing would undoubtedly save the taxpayer millions of pounds a year while providing the public with a better service, and that's just one small element of GDS' work.
"Another example is the sharing of data through registers, which would reduce duplication, not only between councils but central and local government too.
"GDS works in the open, and some councils already use the resources they have online such as the Government Service Design Manual. However, extending GDS' remit to local public services would provide hands-on expertise in delivering world-class digital services locally. This could be co-ordinated by the new body, and so GDS didn't have to visit all 400-plus councils, regional networks or hubs might be created."
On top of this, Rumens said a new body should be created to improve digital services in local government.
"It wouldn't take a great deal of resource," he said. "It really just needs a few people to start to join things up between councils, central government, and everyone else looking to improve the digital services the public sector offers.
"Benefits [would] include: better knowledge transfer between councils, including standards for data and services; a sharing of skills between councils; and a bigger role for local communities to help influence the creation of digital services."
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