Councils awarded £800,000 to build on digital advances made during pandemic

Communities across the country are set to benefit from better local services as councils receive a share of £800,000 for innovative digital projects

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• Up to £120,000 given to 11 innovative council-led projects to better serve residents
• The Local Digital Fund will use innovation to solve common problems facing councils as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic
• This month marks the 2-year anniversary since the start of the Local Digital Declaration

Councils have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by rapidly introducing innovative new ways of serving their communities. This new funding will help ensure they continue to modernise and improve the way they deliver public services. 

Examples include £67,500 for Newcastle City Council to develop a tool which predicts whether parts of a city are overcrowded which will help understand whether social distancing can be followed.

Projects will also build on recent rule changes allowing councils to focus on letting people have their say on major planning applications online. Another project will expand on community and council networks to speed up local support for vulnerable people.

Local Government Minister Simon Clarke MP 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 we 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 £800,000 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 announcement comes 2 years since the start of the Local Digital Declaration, a pledge signed by over 220 councils and public sector bodies committing to driving efficiency and improvements in services through digital technology.

An important part of the pledge is to share their success with other councils, and to work collaboratively with them, so people living across the whole country can benefit.

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