Eight local authorities are to take part in a pilot for digital and cyber improvement projects under the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) Future Councils programme.
Its Local Digital team has announced its choices for funding – previously indicated at up to £750,000 per project – for projects to run for six months.
DLUHC has also indicated that there will be opportunities for other councils to join the programme later this year.
Those taking part in the first phase are Broadland partnered with South Norfolk, Cornwall, Dorset, Leicester, Lewisham, Reading, South Tyneside and Stevenage.
They will work across five themes on cyber security, staff skills, systems and software, user experience of digital services and back end processes for council staff.
Each council will run a number of projects, with aims that include baselining their current digital and cyber maturity, beginning the adoption of the Cyber Assessment Framework for Local Government, and identifying at least one key service area to transform through moving away from legacy technology. They will also identify barriers to reform with plans to overcome them, and take part in training and mentoring of staff.
The pilots are due to begin this month.
DLUHC said that the common themes highlighted in the councils’ applications to join included supporting the reform of social are, increasing the use of robotic process automation, adopting cloud solutions and building digital capability.
“The strongest applicants set out clear examples of how their strengths were relevant to the pilot, and were honest about any challenges they anticipated,” the announcement said.
“They also outlined potential routes to overcoming challenges that could be explored through the pilot, or where they had gaps that they’d like support to find the answers collaboratively.”