SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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Socitm rejects concept of a single website for local government

The idea of creating a single LOCALGOV.UK site that brings together information and services for all local government users in the way that GOV.UK does for central government, is ill-conceived and should not be attempted.

The idea, which has being receiving attention in social media recently may sound attractive says Socitm, in a press release issued on 16 June, but on closer inspection the single local government website concept is deeply flawed because:

Local authorities are independent, democratically accountable bodies. Citizens and businesses pay taxes and other charges to consume services delivered by their local authority. A direct, digitally enabled relatioship with the accountable body and its elected representatives is therefore essential

The aim of the Localism Act 2011 is to devolve more decision making powers from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. Such local democratic engagement is facilitated by council websites in a way it could not be done by a centralised local government website

While the range of services offered by councils is similar, these one thousand or more services are prioritised locally, through local democratic processes.

The cost savings from a single local government website are unlikely to be as great as some might assume. The major area of cost is not the website itself, but integration between it and back office systems, complicated by the variety of systems, processes and providers in place (including outsourced provision)

The logistics of not only developing and also sustaining a single local government website would be daunting.

However, Socitm welcomes and actively supports development of a common platform to enable the sharing of software tools and applications used in local government, including those that support self-service delivery through local authorities’ websites and other digital channels. Read more in our press release.


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