UK local councils are being given the chance to compete for a slice of £7.5 million in funding to help them improve the use of new technology in public services.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said grants of up to £350,000 will be invested, and should be shared by councils working in partnership to study how technology can help in providing better public services.
Administered by the Local Digital Fund, the process is open to groups of at least three councils working together, with the lead authority being in England although those in other parts of the UK are eligible to be partners.
Local Government Minister for Luke Hall said: “Councils are on the front line of exploring how we can harness technology to improve services while saving taxpayers’ money. Today we’re opening up the next round of applications [and] I would encourage all councils with innovative ideas that focus on residents’ needs to apply.”
The Government said it was open to ideas including new online ways to pay for service, using technology to support vulnerable people, or making services such as bin collections and social housing repairs more efficient.
Last year, at total of 16 projects were awarded grants of up to £100,000, including work on the use of Amazon’s Alexa technology for supporting people in care, improving online tools for reporting housing repairs, and using data analytics and AI to produce education plans for children with special needs.