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21.05.20

Socitm supports local authorities with 'a new local normal'

The society for innovation, technology and modernisation (Socitm) has published a document to help local authorities continue their ‘astonishing’ response to the Covid-19 crisis.

New ways of working have been an essential part of the continued public services delivered across the UK.

Local authorities have been ensuring communities and the most vulnerable in them are protected, solutions are shared and the process is as simple and integrated as possible to accommodate staying home throughout the lockdown.

Socitm’s new document Planting the Flag: a new local normal, showcases the ideas and experience from its members and partner associations around the world to act as a blue print for local authorities to thrive post-crisis.

Instead of reverting to old ways of working, Socitm is encouraging a ‘Reset – Reform – Recover’ mentality, to sustain new ways of working and avoid the real risk of having to serve Section 114 notices.

Eight key areas of activity are set out in the document; place-based leadership, democratic engagement and renewal, service design, workstyles, virtual infrastructure, data insights, asset rationalisation and living spaces.

These areas lend themselves to four key principles Simplify – Standardise – Share – Sustain. These have been central to recent practices such as virtual council meetings and data harnessing and Socitm is advocating finding ways to sustain these in the future.

Martin Ferguson, Socitm’s Policy and research director said:

“The achievements of local authorities – their staff, their leadership, their local partners, communities and volunteers – in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic are undeniable. Digital technologies have played a critical role in sustaining and joining-up services, sometimes for the first time, but it is the outcomes that matter.

“Across the country – from Liverpool to Norfolk – the feedback from local residents has been overwhelmingly positive. The challenge now is to build on this experience, to escape the stranglehold of past, broken processes and to embed the positive changes in the way that local authorities and their staff work to address outcomes that matter in their place.”

Success stories and the sharing of best practice, particularly when it comes to the use of digital is included from local authorities around the world, for other organisations to learn from.

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