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Vicky is programme director Connected Local Government, a regular host on CLGdotTV programmes and has served public sector IT for more than 25 years

@vickysargent

Council tech procurement under spotlight as suppliers respond to MHCLG Local Digital Programme

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Georgina Maratheftis, Head of Local Public Services at techUK, describes suppliers’ priorities in the wake of the Local Digital Declaration

As a co-publisher of MHCLG’s Local Digital Declaration, trade body techUK has signed up to the shared ambition for improved collaboration and the statement of conditions needed for the next generation of local public services.  

In this programme Georgina talks about what happened at the supplier ‘unconference’ held on 16 October and about its practical outcomes, three strands of activity to be further developed at a co-design workshop on 20 November.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, two of these focus on procurement, including a proposal to form a vendor community associated with Crown Commercial Services (whose collaboration with the Local Digital programme is covered in our recent interview at Digitech18).

The other is a ‘discovery’ project on how different council personas make digital procurement decisions. As Georgina acknowledges, it is service managers, not digital specialists, who are spending potentially transformational budgets, and as such need support to become ‘intelligent buyers’.

Even if the digital opportunity is understood, the trick is to get commissioners to focus first on the problem to be solved, rather than the technology. In terms of ‘educating the market’, techUK has already produced well-received guides to digital for both councillors and mayors, and a series for heads of key local government services is in discussion.

The third activity strand to be taken forward on 20 November is creation of a vendor version of the Local Digital Declaration.

 

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