Four councils' vision for joint working aims to save £55m over 10 years
Four local authorities near each other or neighbouring in the West of England - Cotswold, Forest of Dean and Cheltenham councils in Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire council - have set out a plan for a joint working partnership to deliver efficiency savings, for consideration by each council's cabinet in June. The authorities' '2020 Vision for Joint Working' envisages the establishment of a jointly-owned local authority company to provide the services required by each individual council. The partnership - which builds on an existing shared services arrangement between the four entitled GO Shared Services - would be based around "four independent councils determining their own policies, priorities and decisions supported by a small number of expert advisors who commission and monitor services, either from the private and voluntary sectors or from local authority-owned service delivery companies". The move is intended to save more than £55m over 10 years and will enable the four to protect frontline services, the councils say."The proposition set out in this report represents perhaps the most radical joint working approach in local government today", says councillor Lynden Stowe, leader of Cotswold District Council. The partnership was awarded a £500,000 transformation grant by central government in April to strengthen the shared working arrangement.
Pictured: Green means go for more partnership: The GO Shared Services home page.
2020 Vision: www.cheltenham.gov.uk/news/article/1368/
Digital exclusion can be tackled by mobile services, says Socitm
Greater public awareness of mobile internet access combined with more mobile-friendly digital public services could solve the UK's problem with digital exclusion, according to a new briefing from the Society of IT Management (Socitm). "Rapid growth of mobile: the long-term answer to digital exclusion?" says while the proportion of the population using the internet has grown significantly in the past 12 months, there remain 13% of UK adults who have never used the internet. Mobile access is a powerful tool to help many of those currently excluded because mobiles are easy to use and technically robust; require much less financial commitment than a PC with fixed broadband; and are well suited to transient individuals and those with in-home mobility challenges, the report finds. However, for those that do use their mobile device to get online and then access local authority digital services, the briefing points out that the experience may not be good enough to encourage them to return. "Better connected 2014", this year's report on Socitm's annual survey of all local authority websites, highlighted the disappointing quality of the mobile experience, according to the report, which is available free of charge to Socitm Insight subscribers.
Groupcall provides platform for UK Child Rescue Alert System
An enhanced Child Rescue Alert system for the UK has been launched by charity Missing People and the National Crime Agency's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) command. The system will allow alerts to be issued via text, email, social media and digital billboards soon after a child is reported missing, and centralise all possible clues and leads from the public. The technology behind the system was supplied by parental communication specialist Groupcall, and it will run on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Members of the public can sign up to receive alerts for free and once activated by the partners working with the police investigating a new missing child case, the alert is received immediately by all registered users. Emails are sent to media partners so the story can be publicised and SMS texts and emails go to members of the public who have registered in the local area. Social media activity sees posts on Twitter and Facebook. Push notifications are also sent to phones where users have downloaded the Child Rescue Alert free app.
Child Rescue Alerts: www.childrescuealert.org.uk/register